Nestled in the serene beauty of the Northern areas of Pakistan, Altit Fort Hunza is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. With its rich cultural heritage and awe-inspiring beauty, it has become a popular tourist destination in recent years. In this article, we’ll take you on a journey to explore the history, architecture, and culture of this ancient fort.
A Brief History of Altit Fort Hunza:
Altit Fort is a 900-year-old fort located in the Hunza Valley of the Gilgit Baltistan region in Northern Pakistan. It was built by the Mir of Hunza in the 11th century and was the primary residence of the Mirs until the 16th century. The fort has witnessed many historical events, including wars, alliances, and migrations. In the 16th century, the Mir of Hunza moved to the nearby Baltit Fort, leaving Altit Fort in a state of abandonment. It remained in a state of decay for several centuries until it was restored and renovated in the 1990s.
Altit Fort and in particular the Shikari tower is around 1100 years old, which makes it the oldest monument in Gilgit-Baltistan.
The people of Altit are believed to be descendants of the white Huns, but there hasn’t been much research on this topic. While there are several theories about their origins, the locals place great value on their indigenous roots. It’s believed that the white Huns brought the language Bruchiski to the area in 47 A.D., but there are no known links between Burushaski and any modern language.
Legend has it that Altit village was originally called Hunukushal, which translates to “village of Huns.” The Huns originated from the Huang-Ho valley in China. Over time, the name changed to Broshal, which means “village of Burushaski speakers.” The people practiced Shamanism, and spirit worship, and followed Buddhism and Hinduism until Islam was introduced in the 15th century. In the 1830s, many converted to Ismailism.
Unique architecture of Altit Fort Hunza:
The architecture of Altit Fort is a blend of Tibetan, Central Asian, and Islamic styles. It is built on a natural rock formation and has a commanding view of the Hunza River and surrounding mountains. The fort has two main sections: the lower section and the upper section. The lower section consists of a mosque, a royal guesthouse, and stables, while the upper section contains the living quarters of the Mirs and their families. The fort is made of locally sourced stone and timber and is an impressive example of medieval architecture.
Cultural Importance of the Fort:
Altit Fort is not just a historical landmark, but also a cultural hub of the region. The local community has preserved its cultural heritage by showcasing its traditions, customs, and handicrafts. The fort hosts several cultural events throughout the year, including the annual Altit Fort festival, which attracts visitors from all over the world. The festival is a celebration of the region’s rich cultural heritage and includes traditional dance, music, and food.
Discover the Best Things to Do at Altit Fort Hunza:
If you’re planning a visit to Altit Fort in Hunza, be sure to check out the Royal Garden and the unique cafe run entirely by women. While the indoor dining area is cozy, the real highlight is the veranda overlooking the stunning valley. Take a break from your tour of the fort and indulge in some traditional Hunza cuisine, including Chap Chrro, a flatbread filled with meat, Brustz Shapik, a flatbread stuffed with local cheese, seasoned with herbs and apricot oil, and Diram Phitti, a delicious dessert made with wheat and apricot oil. With its charming atmosphere and delicious food, this cafe is not to be missed during your visit to Altit Fort Hunza.
Read more about delicious Hunza Foods: Top Traditional Foods of Hunza Gilgit Baltistan
Altit Fort is a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Northern Pakistan. It is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts, architecture lovers, and cultural explorers. Its serene beauty, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture make it a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. So pack your bags and set out on an adventure to explore the wonders of Altit Fort.