Considered one of the finest of the Ottoman-period mansions of as-Salt, Beit Abu Jaber was built in 1892 and likely named after a certain Abu Jaber family. The foundation of the structure and the first floor looks much more ancient, probably of Mediaeval construction. It was recently restored and turned into the Historic Old Salt Museum, which showcases the mansion itself and walks the visitor through the history of the city.
As-Salt was built on a very hilly terrain. The centre of town lies in the middle of a deep valley and the town spreads up the surrounding hills. The effect is quite picturesque with the houses stacked on top of each other as in the attached photos. For more photos, check out the travelogue: "Stacked Houses of as-Salt".
The Small Mosque of as-Salt, as it is called, was built in 1905 and restored in 1995. It has a round minaret with beautiful decorations, but otherwise, the mosque is fairly plain. It is located on al-Hammam Street.
Named after an Arab Bath that no longer exists, al-Hammam Street is the main traditional shopping street in historic as-Salt. The narrow pedestrianised street wraps around the contours of a hill between traditional stone architecture and contains many local shops selling items typical of the Middle East, such as spices. The street is most picturesque and is worth a walk through to get a feel for a traditional Middle Eastern souk.
The Historic centre of the city of Salt has a plethora of elegant mansions built around 1900 in the Ottoman era. During this time as-Salt was the largest and most important city in the sparsely populated Transjordan, as it had flourished as a trading centre connecting Palestine with lands further East. The newfound importance allowed many merchant families to settle in the city and to build splendid mansions in a version of the style seen across the entire Levant mixing Eastern and Western elements. Each house carried the name of the family that owned it. Attached are a few examples.
When I visited as-Salt in December 2010, the Great Mosque of as-Salt was undergoing a renovation project. The structure was built in the early 1970s as a replacement to an early 19th century mosque, which had been deemed structurally unsafe. The 19th century buildings was in turn probably built on the site of a more ancient mosque. The restoration project was in the process of giving the mosque a more traditional appearance, covered in the yellow stone that is used in the rest of the city, rather than the soulless 1970's concrete look.
With Christians representing 30% of its population, as-Salt has several churches that serve the community and its various sects. Among those I encountered were the Latin Church (i.e., Roman Catholic) and the Greek Orthodox Church. The latter is dedicated to Saint George, who is known in Arabic and in Islam as al-Khider, and the church is thus known as al-Khider Church. It was built in 1682 over a cave where it is believed that saint himself made a miraculous appearance.
The small Salt Archaeological Museum contains a collection of archaeological finds discovered around as-Salt. It is housed in Beit Touqan, a beautiful early 20th century mansion, which was renovated in 2006 and turned into a museum.
The best way to enjoy the beautiful architecture of the buildings in Salt is to walk around the town. Although some areas can be a bit hilly, it is still very easy to explore this town by foot.
There are many old churches, beautiful Ottoman Buildings, Mosques etc.
This beautiful building is in the process of being restored. It is beautiful from the outside. I was told that it would be open for visitors within 2 weeks (that is from 30 April) when I was there.
It is historically important as it was a home to Royalty.
Although there is no functional hammam anymore in this street, it is still a busy and important street in Salt. The street is lines with shops on both sides, giving more the idea of a market or small souk.
It is easy to find the street, if you with Maydan Str from the bus station, you will find it on your left.
It says Ben Al Jusaf at the entrance, but I am not sure if that is the name of the Coffee House.
This old coffee house is a must visit. It is in an old building and the interior is what I imagined a coffee house should look like. There were men playing card games while smoking waterpipe and drinking coffee or tea.
Soon after I sat at a table I was invited by some locals to join them for lunch etc.
It seems that people buy lunch from a street cafe and have it in the coffee shop.
You will find this place opposite the market of Hammam Str, across Maydan Street.