This ancient town was once the capital of Jordan. A half-hour drive northwest from Amman transports you back in time to a town of picturesque streets and dazzing houses from the late Ottoman period, with their characteristic long-arched windows. Also spelled Salt, or Es-salt, town, west-central Jordan. It is on the old main highway (often called the As-Salṭ Road) leading from Amman to Jerusalem. The town is situated in the Al-Balqāʾ highland, about 2,600–2,750 feet (about 790–840 m) above sea level, and is built on two hills, one of which has the ruins of a 13th-century fortress. The town was known as Saltus in Byzantine times and was the seat of a bishopric; it was later destroyed by the Mongols and then was rebuilt by the Mamlūk sultan Baybars I (reigned 1260–77).
In the early 1830s, As-Salṭ was again destroyed by the Egyptian viceroy Ibrāhīm Pasha during his campaigns against Palestine. After World War I it was at As-Salṭ that Sir Herbert Samuel, British high commissioner for Palestine and Transjordan, announced to the Transjordanian sheikhs and notables that the British favoured self-government for the country (August 1920). The town is an agricultural market and an administrative centre. The chief crops produced in the vicinity are grapes (for raisins), olives, and grains; tanning extract is produced from sumac bushes