History, Culture, and Language Practice in Al-Salt
SIT took us out for a day trip to the nearby city of Al-Salt for a fantastic day of history, culture, and a generous opportunity to practice our Arabic with the locals.
An informative journey through the ancient world, we got to see some original pottery, dishes, jewelry and money from prehistoric times. We made it all the way to the roof and there was a perfect backdrop of the city and a Jordanian flag and since I’m infected with World Cup fever I naturally had to strike a soccer pose.
Al Hammam street
Riddled with small shops and, Al Hammam street is a hotspot where the young old and foreign come together to shop for whatever their needs may be. At the end of Al Hammam street there is a courtyard type of square with benches, tables, and precious protection from the sweltering sun where I was fascinated by elderly Jordanian men who were playing backgammon and a complicating version of Mancala.
Beit Abu Jaber
As-Salt has several Mansions that are from the Ottoman era some of which are being restored and even converted into museums. The building we visited was well preserved and even has some of the original details and hardware of the original building. Here we watched a presentation about traditional weddings of the area. (little did we know we were about to experience it!)
Zamanek Ya Salt
We ate lunch at a restaurant that was in a building that was over 200 years old. The restaurant itself is quite a bit younger but the owners have created a cultural experience. Definitely the most picture worthy location of our trip, we got to experience a traditional Wedding right there in As-Salt! Two students in our group were randomly selected to be “married” and were outfitted with traditional groom and bride outfits. After watching them get ready the rest of the group went upstairs to suit up for the big event! Complete with music, dancing, swords, and plenty of laughter, it was truly a remarkable experience!
Abu Hassan Cafe
Tea, ice cream, and shisha were next on the itinerary at a local café surrounded by the beautiful Jordanian landscape. Here we made like Jordanians and spent plenty of time chatting, smoking, and drinking tea.
After our break, we visited the shrine of Shoaib and the shrine of Uosha’a. The Shiekh at each mosque told us a little bit about the history of the mosques and shrines and discussed a few of misconceptions of Islam. Finally we concluded our trip by driving to the highest hill in the city to watch the sunset. Although the desert fell cold very quickly, it was definitely worth enduring the chilly breeze to witness such a marvelous sight. I couldn’t begin to describe it and the camera couldn’t capture it in all its glory. You’ll have to see it for yourself!
Bonus: On the way back to Amman traffic came to a complete halt for a short amount of time and not too far from our bus we could hear skidding and gun shots. A few new graduates were celebrating their graduation by drifting in their vehicles and shooting a few guns. This is normal and also applies to weddings.