Altit Fort Hunza Valley – History & Culture



Hunza Valley is not only famous for its scenic views but also for its culture and history. Hunza Valley is home to one of the oldest civilization and their culture and traditions are still visible in their buildings and daily living. There are two famous forts in Hunza Valley i.e Baltit Fort & Altit Fort. If you are visiting Hunza Valley and do not visit these two forts then your tour is incomplete.

Altit Fort 1100 years old fort, which once was the home of Mir of Hunza Valley. Altit Fort is in Altit town of Hunza Valley. Later on, the Mir of Hunza moved to a new fort called Baltit Fort. Altit Fort is one of the oldest building in Hunza Valley. Today it one of the most visited forts in Hunza Valley. People come from different parts of the world and visit Altit Fort & Baltit Fort. Altit Fort shows the grand history and luxurious living style of the rulers of Hunza Valley.

Renovation Of the Altit Fort

Altit Fort prior to 2008 was in a very bad shape. Ruler of Hunza Valley moved to a new residence and they stopped looking after Altit Fort. in 2008 UNESCO World Heritage awarded Altit For the award of Culture Heritage Conservation. Agha Khan Development Network was awarded the project to mending structural defects, stabilizing and repairing existing walls, replacing some roofs, treating wood decay and providing appropriate lighting.

In 2011 AKDN completed all the repairing work. UNESCO World Heritage gave AKDN the award of Distinction at the 2011 UNESCO Asian-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

Altit Fort has survived several earthquakes as well as many attacks by the aggressors. No wonder this fort is very unique and has a long history.

Interior of the Altit fort
Interior of the Altit fort

Altit Fort is constructed on top of a cliff. It is, in fact, a marvelous piece of engineering and technology of old times. In the 11th century, It must have been unthinkable to construct such a big structure. Fort gives a complete overview of the valley. This makes it a perfect spot to watch the entire population as well as enemies.

Dispute Of Altit Fort

Altit Fort was also used to execute the death sentences by throwing off the prisoners. Altit Fort & Baltit Fort has a very interesting history. After 400 years of its completion, it became controversial. A dispute arises between the two princes of Hunza i.e. Prince Shah Abas & Prince Ali Khan. Prince Ali Khan constructed the Baltit Fort and used it to launch attacks against Altit Fort. Local people believe that Prince Shah Abas buried Prince Ali Khan alive against a pillar inside the watchtower in Altit Fort.

Standing Grave Of Prince Ali Khan
Standing Grave Of Prince Ali Khan

After 1947 Partition

After the British took over the control of subcontinent, the British Army marched the streets of Altit to find and kill any potential involvement of Russian power in the region. Control of Hunza Valley in those times still remained in the hands of the rulers of Hunza.

Even after the partition of the subcontinent, Hunza remained a princely state and after 1972 Hunza decided to be a part of Pakistan. The government of Pakistan gifted Altit Fort to Agha Khan Development Network to care of this fort.
It’s incredible to see that traces of history are still visible in the Altif Fort. The Altit Fort has several utensils & equipment used by the rulers of those times.

Pots used by the royal family.
Pots used by the royal family.

 

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