Salt, just a half hour drive from Amman, is an ancient agricultural town and administrative centre. The town was known as Saltus in Byzantine times and seat of a bishopric. The settlement was destroyed by the Mongols, then rebuilt during the reign of the Mamluk sultan Baybars I (1260-1277) and became a regional capital once more during the time of the Ottoman Empire. The architecture of this period is the highlight, houses with long-arched windows in picturesque narrow streets.
Salt prospered in the late 19th century when traders arrived from Nablus to expand their business. This period saw the rapid expansion from a peasant village into a town with many architecturally elegant buildings. A large number of buildings from this era survived to the present day making the modern town interesting for tourists. Typically, they have domed roofs, interior courtyards and characteristic tall, arched windows. Perhaps the most beautiful is the Abu Jaber mansion, built between 1892 and 1906, which has frescoed ceilings, and is reputed to be the finest example of a 19th century merchant house in the region.
When Abdullah I rose to power in Transjordan, Salt seemed to be the city that would be chosen as the capital of the new kingdom since most of the industry and commerce flowed through here. Salt was the largest city and had the only high school. But Abdullah had a diagreement with the notables of Salt and moved the capital to Amman.
Other places of interest in Salt are a small museum and a handicraft school where you can admire the traditional skills of ceramics, weaving, silk-screen printing and dyeing. Salt's Archaeological & Folklore Museum displays artifacts dating back to the Chalcolithic period to the Islamic era as well as other items relating to the history of the area.