As I walked through Hamam street, I could feel everyone’s eyes on me. Maybe it was the blond hair, maybe it was the big camera strapped around my neck, or maybe it was the fact that I was solo; I’m not exactly sure. However even though the tourist sites of Salt were well marked with signs (a complete oddity so far in my Jordan travels), I felt like I was the only tourist to come through Salt in the last 2 weeks. The brave people would ask “Would you like to have tea with me?”, and the rest of the people would continue to stare.
This was my introduction to the Saltines, the people who inhabited the town of Salt.
Nestled in the hills outside of Amman is the charming town of Salt. An ancient town, Salt was once the most important settlement in the area between the Jordan Valley and the eastern desert. Because of its history as an important trading link between the eastern desert and the west, it was a significant place for the region’s many rulers. Today, it’s set up for tourism, but few people visit.
Salt surprised me on many levels. And since it was a town built on a series of three hills, it actually had many levels to it. The low parts of town contained the markets and the restored buildings. I found shops on Hamam Street charming and clean. I didn’t have to walk far to be invited inside for tea and I ended up spending more time socializing with the locals than taking pictures! After wiggling away from all of the attention and hospitality I was receiving in the shops, I started climbing to see the view for sunset.
Once again the path upwards and the signs were clearly marked. I wandered with no one else in site and slowly took my time examining all of the old buildings with my lens. The yellow sandstone buildings incorporate a variety of local and European styles. Typically, they have domed roofs, interior courtyards and characteristic tall, arched windows. As I continued to climb, kids would stop me and request to have their photo taken and more locals would invite me in for tea; the attention never stopped in Salt.
If you find yourself in Amman, be sure to make a stop in this seldom seen town; it’s different than anything you’ll see in Amman and has a charm that I didn’t feel in any other towns. I can guarantee the Saltines will welcome you with open arms.
View all of my Salt photography: