Arab Eclecticism - the city of As-Salt (1860-1925)
Arab Eclecticism - Foundation and evolution of an Architectural School in the city of As-Salt (1860-1925) is part of the Tentative list of Jordan in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
As-Salt is the birthplace of an eclectic Architectural School during the late 19th century, when it saw an influx of traders of Nablus. Architecturally elegant buildings were constructed, built in mix of Ottoman tradition and the Nablusi style with honey-coloured local stone. Abdel-Rahman 'Aqruq was its most notable architect.
Map of Arab Eclecticism - the city of As-Salt (1860-1925)Load map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
Nowadays As-Salt is nothing more but a satellite city of Amman agglomeration. But until the First World War it was a serious rival of current Jordanian capital. It faced substantial growth particularly in the end of XIXth century, when many wealthy families from the land now called West Bank moved to As-Salt. During this time a Palestinian architect Abdel-Rahman Aqruq formed a new style calle „Arab eclecticism”. As the name suggests, the style was a mix: arabic tradition and european styles (classicism and (neo)gothic are clearly visible, so do secession elements). That style spread over the whole Middle East, which was these days united under Ottoman Empire. Given the importance of this movement, As-Salt will attempt inscription on World Heritage List in 2017.
I visited As-Salt driving from UNESCO site of Bethany beyond the Jordan to Amman. I had very limited time there and the weather was awful so the circumstances were not pleasant. Moreover, it was Friday and the Historical Old Salt Museum was closed. The museum is located in Abu Jaber House, which is probably the most famous expression of the new architectural style. Fortunately, tourist information was open and I was provided with maps proposing several different city walks, such es 'educational' or 'harmony' trail. Although they are interesting, none of them is exactly related to the potential iscription as a WHS. However, the most important buildings in the old town are supported with a plaque describing interesting facts and showing the distance to the next interesting building. Most of them are located on or near Hamman street. I imagine that if As-Salt's nomination is successful, some of these plaques will just get UNESCO sign.
Although As-Salt is quite nice and is doing its best to attract tourists, the (potential) outstanding universal value of the place is not easy to understand – I even had a problem to choose one interesting photo to illustrate my review. Even after inscription it would rather not become one the top tourist attractions in Jordan.
2020 Incomplete - not examined
As: As-Salt: The Place of Tolerance and Urban Hospitality
2017 Advisory Body overruled
ICOMOS suggested Not Inscribe. Overturned by amendment of Turkey to Deferral.
Successor to former TWHS Old City of Salt (2004)
2015 Added to Tentative List
Bureau - require 1990 action plan to be adopted
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