The city of Salt has recently been recognized as a city that symbolizes diversity and tolerance, and by being inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO, it has finally received the attention and care it deserves.
To fully grasp the spiritual nature and wonders of the place, I encourage you to park your car and take an on-foot tour, to experience a journey of discovery I took few years back on one sunny winter morning.
The visit was mainly for the purpose of writing my first book, but it ended up to be a trip of self-discovery where I grasped the uniqueness of the place, and realized that part of me is passionate to reveal the treasures of the past.
Usually, we pass by the city enjoying the nature of Wadi Shueib, heading to the Dead Sea, but that day was special indeed.
Salt is divided into two sections: the Hara (neighborhood in Arabic) and the Akrad.
My journey was in the Hara, a place where the majority of Christians reside.
The journey on foot started at the Abu Jaber Museum, where “the popular heritage of the Balqa Governorate” is displayed.
Walking up the streets I entered the small shops, enjoyed the little chats with the shop owners, drank tea with some, and took pictures with others, sensing instilled pride in the people.
“We are simple people living together, wear the same traditional clothes, and share the same lifestyle,” one of the shop owners, from the Awamleh family, told me, explaining the unique relationship Muslim and Christians have.
In the first half of the twentieth century, the eight Christian tribes of salt were allied to the city’s big Muslim families, of which the Awamleh are one.
Next to his shop is a printing press established in the 1970s, owned by the Fakhoury family.
The city is famous of the yellow color of its buildings.
Across the street from the shops are a church and mosque with one simple wall that divides between them.
I understood from one the shop owners that the land where the mosque is built on was owned by a Christian, and the land where the church is built was owned by a Muslim.
Though an outsider, I was confident enough that any house I chose to visit would warmly welcome me.
This is the famous Jordanian hospitality.
Thus, taking the fabulous yellow stairs across the street, I knocked on one of the doors.
I heard a woman’s voice softly asking her unexpected visitor to be patient.
After a quick introduction, Um Abdullah welcomed me in the guest room where she happily shared stories about her life and way of life, one that is echoed across the Kingdom, which are best known as stories of coexistence.
If there is one thing that is undeniably amazing in this city, it is the St George Church, famous as the church of miracles in the center of the old town.
The 300-year-old church, also known as Al-Khader Church, was built by donations offered by both Christians and Muslims of Salt, as its priest, Father Taamneh, will tell you should you choose to visit.
He’ll also share the secret behind the church’s name, and of the many miraculous healings that occurred there.
Salt combines the past with the future, nature, culture, and history.
It teaches a lesson of pride and respect, and gives the best example of harmonious living and coexistence.
No wonder it is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.