Written by Momal Rizvi, (American University), Student Correspondent for CET Jordan, Spring 2022
Despite the endless adventures that are present in Amman, there is much more to Jordan than its capital city. In the last two weeks, I have had the opportunity to travel outside of the city twice—first to As-Salt and then to the Dead Sea. Each experience was incredible in its own way and opened my eyes to how rich and vast Jordan truly is.
I got to the spend the day in As-Salt—an ancient city thirty minutes outside of Amman—with my language partner and three other CET students. Our first stop was the As-Salt Ecomuseum, where we learned the history of the city, its people and their lives. I quickly learned that As-Salt was the first capital of Jordan, before it was moved to Amman.
Afterward, we made our way to Al-Khader Church—dating all the way back to 1682—and the Salt Turkish War Memorial, which honors 300 Turkish martyrs that died defending their homeland from the British during World War I. It was remarkable how both ancient and modern histories came together in the streets of As-Salt.
We ended our day by visiting two cafes. The first cafe was Aktham’s 1881 Coffee House, a 140-year-old mansion turned coffeeshop. Aktham’s didn’t just have drinks and baked goods (although their lemon and mint juice was the best drink I’ve ever tasted)—but also artwork made by As-Salt locals and first edition copies of Mahmoud Darwish, a famous Palestinian author. We took a taxi to the second cafe, which overlooked the hills and had a stunning view of the sunset.
Watching the sunset from a cafe in As-Salt
Just a week later, I found myself at the Dead Sea with my roommate, five of our peers from CET, and their Jordanian friends. It was a lovely experience from the moment we left our apartment complex, as the drive there was full of music, laughter and beautiful views of the Jordan Valley.
After numerous pitstops and busy traffic, we arrived just in time to watch the sunset. Soon after, our Jordanian friends cooked us dinner and we ate all together with a view of Palestine across the sea. I can confidently say that it was my most memorable day in Jordan so far.
To anyone currently studying abroad or planning to, I would definitely recommend leaving your city of residence and exploring different locations. You’ll be surprised at how much there is out there to see and explore!