With everyone focusing on the amazing/crazy growth of Amman, the skyscrapers on airport road and the gated communities (why the heck do we need them?), a visit to the old town center of Salt is an amazing jolt to the faculties of urban perception! (highly recommended too).
Regrettably all my visits to the city (with foreign guests) tend to be too short and unguided. But the urban charm of this city is just amazing (to me and my guests alike). I noticed two new positive developments in old Salt. One is the renovation of the Abu Jaber House, and the other is the imminent revamping of the Salt museum (the Touqan House). The Abu Jaber project is supported by JAICA (ie the Japanese) and the museum project is supported by the Dutch embassy. I say: all strength to them! It takes Jordan’s foreign friends to recognize the value of our (abandoned) urban heritage.
Even in the well renovated Souq, ugly, Amman style commercial signs are creeping in. Sadly a lot of houses around the Souq are abandoned.
Before anyone out there thinks I am a no-to-skyscrapers romantic.. Well.. I am not. I am excited about the prospect of the new Amman. But needless to say, some of the new proposed project in Amman are outright ugly and will probably create huge traffic problems. But we don’t seem to care. (Remember: a Dubai-style image and driving SUVs is way more important to Amman than decent sidewalks and public transportation).
But I do worry about the old Amman and the old Salt. Exactly because we are building all these new projects, managing our urban heritage (in a country that largely lacks such heritage) is too important to ignore.
Hey, even Dubai tries. Have you ever visited the old areas around the Gold Market in Dubai. Really charming and well preserved/paved areas, full of commerce and life. Of course, my Palestinian and Jordanian friends mostly don’t know where on earth old Dubai is. They only know about the new Dubai.
I am no Salt expert. If you are one please add to our knowledge by commenting below. But I will let the photos I’ve taken during my quick walk speak for themselves. I will definitely have more trips to Salt from now on.
Read about Salt in Wikipedia.
Read these related posts on 360east:
- Blouzaat: Urban art hits Amman today
- Jordan’s first renewable energy expo
- Open City: Refuge urbanism in Amman, Cairo, Beirut, Istanbul
- Al Manakh: Surveying the Gulf’s contemporary urbanism
- Jordanian Facebook group to discuss Amman’s urban development
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