Baltit is built upon the ancient Ultar watercourse to control the use of water which feeds the farmlands in the valley below.  Because Hunza receives only between 100 and 200 ml of rain a year the Ultar glacial aqueduct was and still is today, the life blood of the valley below.

Baltit, like, Altit, has had many changes over its long life, much of its construction and striking features can be traced to the 14th century.  The then Mir Ayasho ii married Princess Shah Khatoon from Baltistan, bringing with her as a part of her dowry tradesmen from Tibet and Kashmir.  Baltit Fort with this Baltistan influence resembles the Potala Palace in Lahasa, in some of its features.

As a result of a family dispute in the late 1540’s between the Mirs two sons, Shah Abbas (Shabos) and Ali Khan (Aliquin), Shabos moved to Baltit, making Baltit the seat of power.  Ali launched many offensives towards his brother in Baltit but Shabos eventually killed his brother, burying him alive in Altit tower.  With the death of Ali ruler of Atilt, Shabos established Baltit as the unopposed ruling seat of Hunza.  Today the township of Karimabad that surrounds the Fort  remains the capital of Hunza.

In December of 1891 after the British invasion and the  Mir of Hunza, Thara Baig iii taking political asylum in Kashgar (China),  Baltit underwent its biggest transformation.  Fortified walls the watchtowers of Baltit village and the northern Baltit watchtowers were demolished by the British authorities.  The British assigned, Mir (Muhammad Nazim Khan) further altered Baltit to the British liking’s.  On the 3rd floor a number of family rooms were demolished, walls were lime washed and stain glass windows added.  Baltit remained inhabited until 1945,when the then Mir moved to the newly built palace further down the hillside, which today remains the residence of the chief Executive of Northern Areas.  Baltit fell into disrepair and with the harsh climate of Hunza started to deteriorate and crumble.  In 1990 Mir (Muhammad Jamel Khan) donated the Fort to the public charity, the ‘Baltit Heritage Trust’.  Today Baltit Fort is owned and maintained by this public trust.

One fascinating fact of many in this fabulous fort,  on the second floor you enter the top of the grain store where the roof is supported by four pillars.  On each of these pillars are markings in the form of dots and scratches.  This confusing arrangement of markings represents the tax system of years gone by where notches were carved into the pillars as you paid your bill in the form of wheat.