The state of Hunza was ruled for over 1000 years by the same family with their seat of power at the Baltit Fort. It is located on a large rocky outcrop at the base of the might Ultar Peaks (claimed by locals that no one has reached its summit).
This fort was renovated and reopened in 1997, and gives a magnificent view of the Hunza valley.
Doors inside were quite small, and the tour guide explained that this was a defensive mechanism as well. A person/enemy had to stoop low to enter (head first) and on the other end were the soldiers of hunza awaiting...chop chop.
The climb itself (if you are from seal level and not physically fit) on a narrow street is a challenge. On numerous occasions we had to rest and catch our breath. Noticed that the old people of this place had small hunchbacks…probably from climbing up and down in this small hamlet.
In addition to the tickets, you will also be charged seperately if you want to take photographs or make video inside the fort. Worth paying for both.
The fort itself gives a magnificent Birds eye View of the valley around; behind it is the might Ultar peak, and in front you can see the Hunza river, Rakhaposhi, and at a distant behind Golden peak, Broad Peak.
Just beyond 'Ganesh Village' below Kareemabad, the KKH (Karakorum Highway) crosses the Hunza river on a large, graceful bridge. Within walking distance from the bridge right on the roadside is 'Haldikish' (Place of the Rams), also known as the "Sacred Rock" of Hunza. This large rock has many carvings from different eras and in varying scripts. At Shiskot the KKH crosses the west side of the river and soon reaches Gulmit (about 8,000 feet). Gulmit has a couple of lodges and the town in itself, is an attractive one to visit. Just above the lodges is the Hunza Cultural Museum.
It is one of the magnificent peaks in the world and is situated near Gilgit town. Its height is 7,788m/25,551ft and is climbable from all sides. The peak dominates the horizon and is constantly visible from the Karakoram Highway. It looks so beautiful that the first-ever glance at it inspires charm and lures an onlooker to be in its abode. It is also one of the easily accessible peaks. Dumani /Rakaposhi which is the local name, the shining wall, Rakaposhi lies half way of Nagar from Gilgit town on the right edge of the Karakorum highway at the left bank of Nagar River. Famous glacier valleys, like, Biro, Barpu, Bagrot and Pissan surround the peak, it has 3 faces to climb, from South east face biro glacier Goglot Goh, valley from North West Pissan glacier from west Ghulmet face which is a long route to reach to the main summit.
Altit fort is situated in the village of Altit about three kilometers from Karimbabd. It has been built on a sheer rock cliff that falls 300 metres (1,000 feet) inti the Indus river. The fort is a 100 years older than the Baltit Fort and weas at one time inhabited by the ruling family.
Today there is a museum built within the Fort for the tourist. A trip to the Baltit & Altit is must while your tour to Hunza Valley
Defiying Time... the Baltit Fort. Eleventh-century Baltit Fort, perched 2,800m up the Himalayan peaks, was built to resist time, enemies and frequent earthquakes. Until 1950, the fort was the residence of the Mirs of Hunza, but was then left to go to ruin. Its recent restoration, proposed by the Aga Khan Trust, has carefully respected the original building techniques. Though rain is rare in the Hunza Valley, it is irrigated by an ingenious ancient system of canals fed by glaciers. The Fort is in Karimabad, a busy tourist town of hunza valley..Hunza was a sovereign principality from the 15th century up to 1892, when the British conquered the area and inaugurated a new Mir. Today the Mir has no political power, but enjoys traditional power and great influence. The residence was used until 1945, when a new residence was erected further down the valley.The oldest parts of the fort date from the 13th century and are constructed in a special technique using timber and mudbricks in order to withstand the many earthquakes in the area. Through the centuries the fort has been expanded and rebuilt, and its present appearance is about 100 years old.
The Aga Khan Trust for Culture has restored the prime historic landmark of the 700 year old Baltit Fort on the terraced slopes in Hunza, in Northern Pakistan. The main theme of the project is to preserve this setting despite natural decay and the inevitable impact of recent changes, such as urbanisation which has begun to threaten the integrity of the built heritage. The Fort is now a museum and cultural centre. Moreover, culturally and environmentally compatible small enterprises are being promoted which provide gift items, local woollen rugs and hand-knotted vegetable dye carpets for visitors. These activities are playing a major part in reinvigorating the traditional community spirit and restoring the residents' pride of their heritage. A self-paying waste management project has been set up to safely dispose human waste and garbage. The project now attracts over 20,000 visitors, half of which are from outside the country. Access to the Fort is limited to pedestrians and only 25 visitors are allowed at any one time. To reduce the pressure on the environment there is a break from tourists during the 4-5 months of winter
The Baltit Fort was an inspiration of the princess of Balistan who married the then reigning Mir of Hunza. She brought in Balti masons, carpenters and Craftsmen to build it and it's sister fort of Altit. The Altit Fort is well is over 1000 years old. Altit Fort is a three kilometer jeep drive from Karimabad.
According to local legends, Baltit fort is close to a thousand years old and was built by 300 laborers part of the royal dowry of the Princess from Baltistan who married the Mir of Hunza. The impression of Hunza is further reinforced by the turrets of the Baltit Fort, the traditional seat of the Mir for over centuries.
The Fort was the property of the Mirs of Hunza for over several centuries. The present Mir of Hunza Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan presented this historical monument to H.H. Aga Khan (Baltit Heritage Trust) for complete restoration and renovation.The Fort at present has been converted into a museum demising the lifestyle of the ruling Mir family and the people of the Kingdom of Hunza.