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As-Salt - The Place of Tolerance and Urban Hospitality

As-Salt - The Place of Tolerance and Urban Hospitality

Built on three closely-spaced hills in the Balqa highland of west-central Jordan, the city of As-Salt, was an important trading link between the eastern desert and the west. During the last 60 years of the Ottoman period, the region prospered from the arrival and settlement of merchants from Nablus, Syria, and Lebanon who made their fortunes in trade, banking, and farming. This prosperity attracted skilled craftsmen from different parts of the region who worked on transforming the modest rural settlement into a thriving town with a distinctive layout and an architecture characterized by large public buildings and family residences constructed of local yellow limestone. The site’s urban core includes approximately 650 significant historic buildings exhibiting a blend of European Art Nouveau and Neo-Colonial styles combined with local traditions. The city’s non-segregated development expresses tolerance between Muslims and Christians who developed traditions of hospitality evidenced in Madafas (guest houses, known as Dawaween) and the social welfare system known as Takaful Ijtimai’. These tangible and intangible aspects emerged through a melding of rural traditions and bourgeois merchants’ and tradespeople’s practices during the Golden Age of As-Salt’s development between 1860s to 1920s. 

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

As-Salt – lieu de tolérance et d’hospitalité urbaine

Édifiée sur trois collines rapprochées du haut plateau de Balqa, dans le centre-ouest de la Jordanie, la ville d’As-Salt assurait un lien commercial de premier plan entre le désert oriental et l’ouest. Pendant les 60 dernières années de la domination ottomane, la région est devenue prospère grâce à l’arrivée de marchands originaires de Naplouse, de Syrie et du Liban qui firent fortune dans le commerce, la banque et l’agriculture. Cette prospérité a attiré des artisans qualifiés de différentes parties de la région qui ont transformé le modeste établissement rural en une ville prospère au paysage urbain et à l’architecture caractérisée par de grands édifices publics et des demeures familiales construites en pierre calcaire jaune locale. Le cœur urbain de la ville comprend environ 650 bâtiments historiques importants témoignant d’un mélange des styles Art nouveau européen et néocolonial associés à des traditions locales. Le développement non ségrégué de la ville témoigne de la tolérance entre musulmans et chrétiens, qui ont développé des traditions d’hospitalité dont témoignent les madafas (maisons d’hôtes, également appelées dawaween) et le système de protection sociale, Takaful Ijtimai'. Ces aspects matériels et immatériels sont nés de la fusion des traditions rurales et des pratiques des marchands et commerçants bourgeois pendant l’« âge d’or » du développement d’As-Salt, entre les années 1860 et 1920.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

السلط – مدينة التسامح وأصول الضيافة الحضرية

أُنشئت مدينة السلط على ثلاثة تلال متقاربة في مرتفعات البلقاء الكائنة في غرب وسط الأردن، وكانت صلة وصل تجارية لها أهميتها بين الصحراء الشرقية والغرب. وقد ازدهرت المنطقة خلال السنوات الستين الأخيرة من الفترة العثمانية، نتيجة وصول التجار القادمين من نابلس وسورية ولبنان واستقرارهم فيها، حيث أسسوا ثرواتهم من العمل في التجارة والمصارف والزراعة وتربية الحيوانات. وقد استقطب هذا الازدهار الحرفيين المهرة من عدة أجزاء من المنطقة، حيث عملوا على تحويل المستوطنة الريفية المتواضعة إلى مدينة مزدهرة ذات تخطيط وعمارة مميزَين، وهي تتسم بأبنيتها العامة الكبيرة والمساكن العائلية المبنية من الحجارة الجيرية الصفراء المحلية. ويضمُّ القلب الحضري للمدينة زهاء 650 مبناً تاريخياً بارزاً، هي مزيج بين نمط  الفن الحديث الأوروبي والطراز الاستعماري الجديد في العمارة اللذين يتداخلان مع التقاليد المحلية. ويعكس التطور الذي طرأ على المدينة بعيداً عن ممارسة الفصل فيها، التسامح القائم بين المسلمين والمسيحيين الذي وضعوا تقاليد للضيافة يدلُّ عليها وجود المضافات التي تعرف باسم "الدواوين" ونظام التكافل الاجتماعي. وقد برزت هذه الجوانب المادية وغير المادية من انصهار التقاليد الريفية مع ممارسات التجار والبائعين البرجوازيين خلال العصر الذهبي لنمو مدينة السلط بين عامي 1860 و1920.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

阿萨尔特——包容之地与好客之城

阿萨尔特城建于约旦中西部巴尔卡高地的3座紧密相连的山丘之上,是东部沙漠和西部地区之间重要的贸易纽带。在奥斯曼帝国统治的最后60年里, 来自纳布卢斯、叙利亚和黎巴嫩的商人来到这里定居,他们通过贸易、银行和农业致富,推动了当地的繁荣。这样的繁荣吸引来本地区各方的能工巧匠,将这个不起眼的农村定居点改造成布局独特的繁华城镇。其建筑特色是用当地黄色石灰岩建造的大型公共建筑和家庭住宅。遗产地的城区核心部分包括约650座重要历史建筑,展现了欧洲新艺术运动和新殖民主义风格与本土传统的融合。该城的非隔离式发展体现了穆斯林和基督徒之间的相互包容,独特的招待所和社会福利体系证实了当地人热情好客的传统。这些有形和无形的城市特质是由1860年代至1920年代阿萨尔特黄金时期农村传统和资产阶级商人的实践融合而成。

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Ас-Сальт - место терпимости и городского гостеприимства

Город Ас-Сальт, построенный на трех близлежащих холмах в горной местности Балка в западной и центральной частях Иордании, был важным торговым связующим звеном между восточной пустыней и западом. В течение последних 60 лет Османского периода регион процветал благодаря переселению купцов из Наблуса, Сирии и Ливана, заработавших свои состояния на торговле, банковском деле и сельском хозяйстве. Это, в свою очередь, привлекло квалифицированных ремесленников из различных частей региона, которые работали над превращением скромного сельского поселения в процветающий город с самобытной планировкой и архитектурой, характеризующейся крупными общественными зданиями и семейными резиденциями, построенными из местного желтого известняка. В центре города находится около 650 важных исторических зданий, в которых сочетаются европейский модерн, неоколониальный стиль и местные традиции. Несегрегированное развитие города отражает терпимость между мусульманами и христианами, развивавшими традиции гостеприимства, о чем свидетельствуют Мадафас (гостевые дома, известные как Дауаин) и система социального обеспечения, известная как Такафул Иджтимай. Эти материальные и нематериальные аспекты возникли в результате смешения сельских традиций и практик буржуазных купцов и торговцев во времена Золотого века развития Ас-Сальта с 1860-х по 1920-е годы.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

As-Salt, lugar de tolerancia y hospitalidad urbana

La ciudad de As-Salt, construida sobre tres colinas muy próximas entre sí, en el altiplano de Balqa, centro-oeste de Jordania, era un importante enlace comercial entre el desierto oriental y el occidental. Durante los últimos 60 años del periodo otomano, la región prosperó con la llegada y el asentamiento de mercaderes procedentes de Naplusa, Siria y Líbano, que prosperaron en el comercio, la banca y la agricultura. Este bienestar atrajo a hábiles artesanos de diferentes partes de la región, que trabajaron para transformar el modesto asentamiento rural en una próspera ciudad con un trazado distintivo y una arquitectura caracterizada por grandes edificios públicos y residencias familiares construidas con la piedra caliza amarilla local. El núcleo urbano incluye unos 650 edificios históricos significativos que exhiben una mezcla de estilos europeos Art Nouveau y neocolonial combinados con las tradiciones locales. El desarrollo de la ciudad, sin segregación, expresa la tolerancia entre musulmanes y cristianos, que desarrollaron tradiciones de hospitalidad evidenciadas en las madafas (casas de huéspedes, conocidas como dawaween) y el sistema de bienestar social conocido como Takaful Ijtimai'. Estos aspectos tangibles e intangibles surgieron gracias a la fusión de las tradiciones rurales y las prácticas de los comerciantes burgueses durante la Edad de Oro del desarrollo de As-Salt, entre los años 1860 y 1920.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

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Overview of As-Salt city © TURATH: Architecture and Urban Design Consultants
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

The city of As-Salt became the capital of Transjordan and a thriving trade centre during the late Ottoman period, experiencing a ‘Golden Age’ between the 1860s and the 1920s. The effects of the Ottoman ‘Tanzimat’ reforms brought enhanced security, administrative structures and trade. As-Salt became central to trade networks between the eastern steppe and the west, and grew in wealth through the arrival and settlement of merchants from Nablus, Syria, and Lebanon who made their fortunes on trade, banking, and farming. This prosperity attracted skilled craftsmen and As-Salt was transformed from a modest rural settlement into a thriving town with a distinctive townscape and architecture.

The city features large public buildings and private residences characterised by a central hallway and three bays, constructed of yellow limestone. These demonstrate a mix of vernacular and modern architectural influences, and skilful craftsmanship. Adapted to the steep folded topography, the urban morphology of the historic urban core is characterised by network of interlinked stairways, alleyways, public squares and spaces, and streets. The result is a dense urban fabric connecting the city’s resident neighbourhoods with public spaces and streets. These tangible characteristics have shaped the urban cultures of the city, including distinctive cultural traditions of tolerance between people of different cultural groups and religions. Muslim and Christian communities share many traditions, demonstrated by a lack of physical segregation between them. These traditions of hospitality are understood to reflect a fusion of local cultures and the incoming bourgeois traders during the ‘Golden Age’ of As-Salt’s development and include the social welfare system known as Takaful Ijtimai’ and the provision of hospitality in Madafas (guest houses, known locally as Dawaween).

The cultures of tolerance, hospitality, and social welfare practiced by the Bedouin peoples of the region were common throughout the area and have contributed to the construction of a modern Trans-Jordanian identity.

Criterion (ii): The historic centre of As-Salt demonstrates distinctive intercultural exchanges that resulted in transformations of the Levant in the late Ottoman period. These included flows of culture, people, skills, traditions and wealth within and between the cities of the region and beyond, and between diverse cultural and religious groups that comprised the urban population from the city’s ‘Golden Age’ to the present. These cultural exchanges involved the local Bedouin peoples, incoming merchants, craftspeople and traders, Ottoman officials and Christian missionaries. Together, the city’s architectural forms and building techniques, urban morphology, shared traditions and uses of public spaces, and the development of the places and practices of urban hospitality and mutual welfare demonstrate these intercultural exchanges. These are understood to represent a combination of local customs and new urban social norms.

Criterion (iii): As-Salt’s historic urban core is an exceptional example of the urban form and cultural traditions associated with the city’s ‘Golden Age’ period (1860s to 1920s). The city thrived and transformed as a result of the Ottoman Tanzimat reforms, demonstrated by the relatively intact urban fabric, stairways, and public spaces, as well as the large public buildings and private residences characterised by a central hallway and three bays, constructed of yellow stone. The urban form reflects and supports the traditions of joint habitation of Christian and Muslim communities, and specific forms of urban hospitality, many of which are continuing. As-Salt is distinctive in terms of its cultural practices of cooperation across religions and the absence of segregated neighbourhoods. Although these traits are not unique within the Levant, As-Salt is exceptional because of the intensity of these manifestations and the close connections between the cultural traditions and the urban fabric and forms. The particular urban tradition of providing Madafas (guest houses, also known as Dawaween) is an example of these characteristics, combining tangible and intangible attributes.

Integrity

As-Salt demonstrates integrity in relation to the continuity of the historic urban fabric, including the historic buildings, landscape setting, the network and hierarchy of stairways that organise the vertical movement between lower and upper levels, the presence of open spaces that support a multi-faith society, and the residential and religious buildings. The property is of adequate size, and its boundary and buffer zone are appropriately delineated. The spirit and feeling of the place reside in both the tangible (buildings, houses, churches, mosques, Madafas, urban nodes, steps) and intangible attributes (close habitation of different cultural and religious groups, shared uses of public spaces, traditions of social welfare between neighbours). The integrity is vulnerable to development pressures and has been affected by intrusive buildings and empty plots within the urban fabric that affect the property’s visual and intangible qualities.

Authenticity

The historic urban centre of As-Salt meets the conditions of authenticity through the continuity of the different elements of the city’s architecture and urban morphology, and in the continuing aspects of the traditions of hospitality. The authenticity of the structure, materials, form, and design of the historic buildings and urban fabric is satisfactory despite development and adaptive reuse projects. The distinctive yellow stone distinguishes many historic buildings within the larger urban core, and the authenticity is supported by the retention of the networks of public spaces, alleyways, and stairways. The strong visual and topological contribution of the setting and the continuity of use of many of the public buildings and spaces are important aspects of the authenticity of the property.

Protection and management requirements

Two national laws provide protection for the property. The Law of Architectural and Urban Protection (N°5, 2005) is the primary national law for the protection of cultural heritage in Jordan; the Cities, Villages and Buildings Planning Law (N° 79, 1966) provides for the establishment of planning authorities and processes, including the regulation of construction. Implementation of protection is provided through the City Core Special Regulations which were endorsed by the Ministry of Municipalities and Rural Affairs, the Higher City Planning Council of Jordan, and the As-Salt Greater Municipality in September 2014. These provide regulations for urban spaces, designation and grading of historic buildings, guidelines for conservation and new interventions, and guidelines for the design and enhancement of public spaces.

There is a long-standing commitment to the conservation of the tangible and intangible attributes of As-Salt through the efforts of the As-Salt Greater Municipality. The management system has been established, led by the As-Salt City Development Projects Unit, established in 2005 by the Municipality. The main mission of this office is to coordinate efforts for the safeguarding, conservation, and management of the historic city.

The Municipality is continuing a programme to fully document the attributes of Outstanding Universal Value and record their state of conservation. The Conservation Management Plan is a satisfactory beginning, and the establishment of regulations and guidance for change, alteration and conservation works are under preparation. Important conservation and adaptive reuse projects have been completed, and others are underway and/or planned. Site-specific conservation plans are being completed for twenty-two of the city’s historic buildings as a basis for their conservation or adaptive reuse. Many of the essential management strategies and tools are yet to be developed, and the incorporation of provisions for the intangible cultural heritage aspects require greater attention. Visitor management and interpretation are the subject of new and continuing projects. The development of the nomination and the ongoing management of the property have involved the city’s communities.