Baltit Fort is a fort in the Hunza valley, near the town of Karimabad, in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of northern Pakistan.
Founded in the 8th CE, it has been on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative list since 2004.
In the past several small independent states formed part of the history of the Northern Areas of Pakistan. Among them Hunza and Nager were traditional rival states, situated on opposite sides of the Hunza (Kanjut) river. The rulers of these two states, Mirs known as Thum (also Tham, Thom or Thámo), built various strongholds to consolidate their power. According to historical sources, the Hunza rulers initially resided in nearby Altit Fort, but after a conflict between the two sons of the ruler Sultan, Shah Abbas (Shάboos) and Ali Khan (Aliqhάn), Shaboos moved to Baltit Fort, making it the capital seat of Hunza. The power struggle between the two brothers eventually resulted in the death of younger one, and so Baltit Fort became the prime seat of power in the Hunza state.
Ayasho II, Thum/Mir of Hunza in the early 15th fifteenth century married Princess Shah Khatoon (Sha Qhatun) from Baltistan (in Moghul history Baltistan is called Tibet Khurd, which means Little Tibet), and was the first to modify the face of Altit and, subsequently Baltit Fort. Baltistan had a very strong cultural and ethnical relation with the Ladakh territory to the east. Not surprisingly, the structure of Baltit Fort was influenced by Ladakhi/Tibetan architecture, with some resemblance to the Potala Palace in Lhasa. Then additions, renovations and changes to the building were being made through the centuries by a long line of following rulers of Hunza.