Cultural Heritage: UNESCO Award for Hunza fort

Published: September 6, 2011

The Altit fort in Hunza, restored by the Aga Khan Development Network has received the Unesco Asia-Pacific Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation. PHOTO: Courtesy AKTC

ISLAMABAD: The 900-year-old Altit Fort in Hunza has received the 2011 Unesco Asia-Pacific Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

According to a statement released by the Aga Khan Development Network, which undertook the conservation project, the old fort is an important tourist attraction in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Conservation works focused on mending structural defects, stabilising and repairing existing walls, replacing some roofs, treating wood decay and providing appropriate lighting.

The UNESCO Awards for Conservation present the awards with hopes that recognising private efforts to restore historic properties would encourage other property owners to undertake conservation projects within the community, either independently or by seeking public-private partnerships.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2011.

Correction: An earlier image carried with this story represented the Hunza fort, not the Altit fort.

Reader Comments (4)

  • Ali. Mir
    Sep 6, 2011 - 12:10PM

    Very nice effort and congratulations to Aga Khan Development Agencies for this conservation project.

    I wish other Pakistan based NGOs also do similar trailblazing work to preserve the cultural heritage of the country.

    The conservation work of this fort was done in 1993-1995 by AKDN agencies.

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  • Dr. Anila Naeem
    Sep 6, 2011 - 12:28PM

    Thanks for sending the news link.
    I would just like to point to the fact that the image used in this link is NOT of Altit Fort. It is of Baltit fort in Karimabad, Hunza.
    Altit Fort restoration is no doubt a remarkable achievement of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and deserves to receive this UNESCO Award. It would actually have been really good to re-produce the citation of the award which i am sure highlights not only the aspects of material conservation of the fort, but also puts some light on the soci-economic regeneration that this community based project has instigated in the village of Altit, Hunza.

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  • Sep 7, 2011 - 5:12AM

    This UNESCO Asia-Pacific Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation is a relieving news for the much troubled Hunzukutz in the aftermath of the naturally formed lake on Hunza River on Jan 04 last year. Since then the entire Hunza valley is going through a social, economic dilemma and a huge political turmoil due to the ill managed scenario for over one and half years. This natural disaster had taken 19 innocent lives besides four villages of Ayenabad, Shischhkat, Gulmit and Hussaini and over 26 km of the KKH had submerged into the depths of this turquoise colored lake.

    The recent sad tragedy in which two precious lives of a father and his son were lost from amongst the displaced this most peaceful serene touristic valley of Hunza often called the ” Shangri La on Earth” has grippe everyone with terrifying shock. One can easily see the clouds of sadness, despair and total disillusionment all over the valley as this was the first bullet ever fired by police in Hunza.

    Altit Village has been in the forefront of this human suffering due to the fact that hundreds of displaced families and the whole populace of Attabad who are living in camps even today in the shadows of Altit Fort as they were originally from Altit. Hope is a word those homeless displaced people of the five villages do not want to hear anymore when it comes to compensation and rehabilitation that has taken already them through two harsh winters in tents.

    Part of Attabad Village fell down with the huge mountain slide blocking the Hunza River for over six months . Decades ago they volunteered to settle on that God forsaken hilly pasture land that seemingly attracted them with the then thick forests of Juniper trees green pastures.This hardy community cultivated carving the steep slopes into terraced fields where they grew some of the best potatoes that are carried down country for seed.

    PS: The picture that I see in this article of Altit Fort.

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  • Sanaullah
    Sep 10, 2011 - 2:28PM

    Another milestone. This Award was second for a Fort in Hunza and before this award UNESCO had awarded Baltit Fort in 2004. Hunza is truly the Jewel of Pakistan.

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