The town of Salt is a picture of what Amman might have been: it was considered in the 1920s for the capital of the new kingdom, but Amman was chosen instead; now the once-tiny Amman is a sprawling, crowded metropolis while Salt still retains its old-town character. High on the eastern slopes above the Jordan Valley, it has a relatively cool climate and, like many local cities, is built into steep hillsides; so its streets are winding and interspersed with limestone staircases snaking between the buildings.
Salt has served as a regional capital and a bishop’s seat throughout its centuries of history and has been destroyed and rebuilt in conflicts between the Mamluks and Mongols and between Egyptians and Ottomans. As with so many cities in the region, its many layers of history are mostly invisible, the more recent Ottoman architectural style predominating. The plentiful Ottoman houses give the town a character that can be hard to find in the modern, quick-growing cities surrounding it.
The Salt area claims the tombs of several holy figures. Job, who appears in one of the Bible’s oldest stories as well as in the Qur’an, is said to have suffered greatly but retained his faith and is also commemorated in a spring at the Sea of Galilee. The valley of Wadi Shueib, near Salt, shares its name with the Arabic for Jethro, father-in-law of Moses, who is also supposedly buried nearby. This burial place competes with a location in the Galilee (Nebi Shueib) honored by the Druze religion.