Salt is an ancient agricultural town and administrative centre in west-central Jordan. It is on the old main highway leading from Amman to Jerusalem. Situated in the Balqa highland, about 790–1100 metres above sea level, the town is built in the crook of three hills, close to the Jordan River valley. One of the three hills (Jebal Al Qal’a) is the site of a 13th century ruined fortress. It is the capital of the Balqa Governorate. The Greater Salt Municipality has about 97,000 inhabitants.
It is not known when the city was first inhabited, but it is believed that it was built by the Macedonian army during the reign of Alexander the Great. The town was known as Saltus (Σάλτύς) in Byzantine times and was the seat of a bishopric. At this time the town was considered to be the principal settlement on the East Bank, of the Jordan River. The settlement was destroyed by the Mongols and then rebuilt during the reign of the Mamluk sultan Baybars I (1260–1277) and became a regional capital once more during the time of the Ottoman Empire. In the early 1830s, Salt was again attacked, this time being blown up during a raid by the Egyptian viceroy Ibrahim Pasha in his campaigns against the Ottomans in Palestine.
As Salt is the first parish that was established by the Latin Patriarchate in East Jordan in 1866. When father Muritan arrived there in 1869, he started thinking to build a school for the citizens of As-Salt. His dream became true when he found an abandoned house, incompletely built, next to his house which belongs to Mr. Khalil Nuri Az-Zu`mut. He accomplished building the house and opened the school there.
Mr. Atalah Khalil Nuri was the first teacher in that school (Mr. Atalah studied in the Seminary in Beit-Jala. He knew a little of Latin and Italian languages. He helped the priest in the church in addition to other works).
The Latin Patriarchate Parish:
After a short period, Mr. Salameh Al-Nibir gave his house to the priest to live in and to open a church and a school in condition to be vacated of the Turkish man who captured the house and lived there without paying rent. Father Muritan tried and succeeded in vacating the house after paying a bribe to the Turkish man. He could get a better place for his school and his church at the same time it was nearer to the land that he bought and wanted to build a church there. The church was consecrated on April 23rd, 1871.
Father Muritan described his school:” I had a very good school in As-Salt. It was consisting of Christian and Moslem pupils. I was myself teaching religion and I used to visit it daily. I used to go with the students to the mountains and springs on Thursdays. I used to give them lunch in order top encourage them…” When father Pascal Abu Dayeh, the first priest assistant in the parish, arrived there, he administrated the school.
Father Joseph Gatti became priest of As-Salt parish in 1871. He showed a great concern to the school and he asked the Latin Patriarchate to establish a school for girls and to send him from Jerusalem a teacher without permission from the Turkish Authorities. He opened a school for girls and the Rosary sisters managed it when they entered As-Salt for the first time in 1887. When the Rosary sisters administered the school, the number of the female students became 146. The first girls school location was in the vault under the present church.
When father Antoin Abed Rabu became priest of As-Salt parish in 1902, he arranged the location of the convent and the schools. He built the present boys school during 1902 and 1904. He built the girls school and a convent for the sisters during 1910 and 1912.
Later on the schools moved from one place to another according to the need, but knowing that a new part of the school was built above the main eastern entrance of the convent. The old school buildings are still existed till this day.
The Latin Patriarchate School:
At present the Elementary and Secondary School in the centre of the city takes from grade one to grade nine. After this the pupils usually go to Fuheis to continure their education in grades ten to twelve. There are 281 children, 150 boys and 131 girls, of these 170 are Christian and 111 Muslim.
The offices of the Principal, Secretary and the Staffroom are in the original classrooms, which were next to the church. These have recently been restored. The first church, which is now the crypt of the new church, has yet to be renovated. Damage, caused by the devastating earthquake, has not been repaired so the walls are in a poor state of repair. Presently used by the school and parish for celebrations and bazaars, if renovated, it could be a very useful multi purpose hall for both school and parish.
In addition to the classrooms there is a laboratory for science, which is in a poor condition but has quite good equipment. There is laboratory with 15 rather old computers, and a fairly well stocked library. In addition a teacher, employed for the education of children with special needs, is provided with a room for this purpose. On the staff there is a teacher for music and three teachers for English language. Now there are three Rosary Sisters for the teaching of Religion
As there is no hall, the library is also used for meetings with parents, lectures and consultations.In winter it is only possible to heat the rooms with portable heaters which is not only very inefficient but also dangerous..
In addition to the limitations of size regarding outside playspace, there is no cover for shelter from the rain in the winter or shade from the summer sun.
Pastor: Rev. Ibrahim Batarseh
Tel: (05) 353 35 57
Fax: (05) 355 68 55