Altit Fort is an ancient fort in the Altit town in the Hunza valley in Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan. It was originally home to the hereditary rulers of the Hunza state who carried the title of ‘Mir’. Although they moved to the somewhat younger Baltit fort nearby three centuries later. Altit Fort and in particular the Shikari tower is around 1100 years old, which makes it the oldest monument in the Gilgit–Baltistan.

History of Altit Fort :

In our beautiful Pakistan lies the Birthplace of Hunza Kingdom. Altit Fort is an architectural marvel that has been standing tall for over 1000 years in the face of many enemy attacks and natural calamities.

The great Altit Fort was built by the Mirs (ruling family) of Hunza as a display of power to the Mirs of Nagar (twin state) and has stood tall in front of Karakoram since the 11th century. The word ‘Altit’ means ‘this side down’ .

In the 16th century the local prince married a princess from Baltistan who brought master Balti craftsmen to built two forts (Altit and Baltit forts). The people of Altit are said to belong to the White Huns, although not much research has make for this. There are several theories about their origin but local indigenous origin holds much value among the people. It is also said that the present language Burushaski was brought here by the White Huns in 47 A.D but there is no link between Burushaski and any other language of today.

According to the legend the first name for Altit village was Hunukushal, meaning the village of Huns. The Huns came from the Huang-Ho valley in China. The name later changed to Broshal, translated as a village of Bruchiski speakers. They were spirit worshipers as Shamanism was in practice and also followed Buddhism and Hinduism. In the 15th century Islam was introduced. Around 1830 in turn many converted to Ismailism.

Restoration of Altit Fort :

The Altit Fort was in great disrepair. But has recently been restored by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture Historic Cities Support Programme and the Government of Norway. Altit Fort is a tourist site which has been open to the public since 2007.

Tribes setteled there :

According to the local elders white Huns from the soldier of Alexander started human settlement in Altit when they were on way back from China. According to elders these were the ancestors of the Khanu Kuts tribe of Altit. Presently, majority of households of this tribe are living within the old cluster settlement known as Burum Khan.

The Khunu kuts still has the status of Saath Guy; the privilege of starting any activity/event/work/festival within the village. On the other hand, people from Hussain kuts also claim to be the earlier settler in Altit. They claim that Hussain is modified from Hun. It is said that for centuries Hussain kuts remained as a ruling and strong tribe within the village. It is says that this tribe was strong and thus creating troubles for the Raja of Gilgit. Therefore, the Raja with the help of other tribes ordered mass killing of the people of this tribe.

The origin of different tribes and sub-tribes reveals that people from different regions migrated to Altit and permanently settled down. Presently, the people of Altit belong to one of these four major tribes. These tribes were divide into Gutti. The origin of the sub-tribes may also be different from the major one.

Husain Kuts

According to elders the ancestor of this tribe migrated from Tibet or Ladakh. The local people also relate their arrival with the invasion of Kisar on Altit. The Husain Kuts is divide into below sub-tribes or Gutti:

Rosh kuts, Shalanga kuts, Ghulapee kuts, Bakoo kuts, Bhuthe kuts, Shamirkuts, Faratu kuts, Matum kuts, Shahthurai kuts, Ghauin kuts, qutoshkuz.

Khano Kuts

According to the elders of this tribe the ancestors of different Gutti migrated from Tajikistan, Zabak, Diamer and Thakar Khan, Hopper, Nagar. Sub-tribes include:

Dhathu kuts, Hun kuts (Laghan kuts), Jerovf kuts, Bai kuts, Jaturi kuts, Dhudu kuts, Khanjafa kuts, Lachur kuts, Abdulali kuts, Masak Kutz, Fuk kutz.

Hukalo Kuts

According to the elders of the tribe, the ancestor of this tribe migrated from Baltistan and was belonging to the Royal family. Later on some other people migrated from Shigar and Nagar and joined this tribe. The tribe is subdivide into below Gutti:

Moankuts a)Mamu kuts, b) Moukuts, Sort kuts, Nazar kutz, Mushkil kuts, Baghorik, Jinu kuts, Bathu kuts, Bulush kuts, Toq kuts, Attakuz, Galyu kutz, Habib Kutz.


According to the elders of the tribe the ancestor of this tribe migrated to Altit from Rome. According to oral traditions some people from Rome migrated to Bakhtar in Eastern Iran where they ruled for about 3–4 years. After that they had a battle with the troops of central government and thus left the area and entered in Afghanistan and to Hidukush region. After many years they reached to the present day Altit and settled there. However, different Gutti relate their origins from different areas. Presently, the tribe has below main Gutti:

Noormuhammed kuts, Almaaz kuts, Khoja kuts, Mumbara kuts, Su kuts, Adai kuts, Muyo kuts, Aman kuts, Ashur kuts, Pashu kuts.

Awards received by Altit Fort :

The fort has received the UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation in 2011.

Access to Altit Fort from diffrent places:

It is located on an 18-20 minutes’ drive (5.8 Kilometers) from Hunza valley and is accessible via Madal Gan and Sultan Abad Road.
Alternatively, You also get access directly via Karakoram Highway and Sultanabad Road. The distance from Hunza is 5.1 Kilometers if one’s taking KKH.

How visitors of the Altit Fort enjoy the tour Altit Fort Hunza?

The fort itself is the highlight of Altit village in Hunza and features a museum for the visitors that showcases traces of ancient life. Including the utensils used by the Royals and the craftsmanship of the skilled workers. It is said that the craftsmen were a special gift to the Mir of Hunza as a part of dowry since he married a Balti princess.
The Shikari tower of the fort is the main attraction. As it provides an enchanting view of the surroundings from a height of over 1000ft from the ground.

Nature of local people:

The people of Altit have striking features and they claim to have been the descendants of the Greek soldiers of Alexander the Great’s army.

However, the people of the old city of Altit are to be descendants of Turkic tribe of Huns. They belong the Persian Empire and that is the reason the city name is Hunukushal (village of Huns) in ancient times.
The locals are humble and down-to-earth people who warmly welcome the visitors.
English and Urdu are widely use and understood in the region making communications easy for tourists from both inside of Pakistan and outside.

Hotel Facilities in Hunza :

If you are planning to take a trip to Hunza anytime soon. Then Different types of Hotels and Guest Houses are available to facilitate you.