It’s only tower, the “shikiari tower” is strategically built to hold a commanding view of the entire Hunza Valley.  Hunza and its valley was constantly under threat of invasion from Kaivan Rus (Russian) and Chinese troops, Altit Fort with its commanding view gave the Altit army time to prepare their defense.

The tower not only served as a watch tower but also as a court of law where prisoners would be thrown over the sheer cliff to their death 1000 ft onto the rocks below.

Controversy surrounds the forts history as in the late 1540’s again family disputes shaped the valley of Hunza.  This dispute between the two royal brothers, Prince Shah Abbas (Shabos), and Prince Ali Khan, saw the rise of another fort “Baltit” some 7 kilometres up the valley, this new fort soon became the new capital of Hunza under the rule of Shabos.  The younger of the two brothers, Ali, made Altit his stronghold and launched many offensives against his brother.  It is believed Shabos buried his younger brother, Ali, alive in the walls of the ‘Shikari Tower’

In an attempt to eliminate any Russian involvement in the region British troops marched into the streets of Altit in 1891, Hunza-Nagar Campaign, taking control of the Fort but leaving the rule of Hunza in the hands of the Royal family.  The British army stationed troops at Altit, using rooms behind the tower and grain store as barracks, overlooking the town of Altit until the mid 1950’s

The area remained a princely state until 1972 when socio-politic reforms took power away from the ruling family.  The Fort lost its glory for being the centre for traditional cultural festivals, and as the ruling family could no longer collect taxes for  its upkeep the Fort fell into disrepair.

Altit Fort in 1990 was gifted to the Aga Khan Foundation and the fort has been restored to its former glory and has been operating as a tourism museum since 2007

Today you can visit the fort and experience the hardship of life that was in the cold stone walls.  Beautifully restored, much of what can be seen within the rooms of Altit Fort are as they would have been in centuries past.  Pots and pans are displayed as they would have been used by the Mirs household. Doors, windows and stairs have been skillfully restored to silently tell the tales of times gone by.

As you walk down tho the royal gardens from the along the forts clifftops walkway you will find a pillar of stone, now more than three foot wide and some five foot from the cliffs edge.  Legend has it that boys wanting to serve  in the army of Altit would jump across to te pillar and back to show their bravery.  Many fee to their death on the river rocks 100’s of feet below in their quest.