The Hunza valley is a very special place. It is located in one of the most spectacular mountain areas in the world and has very special people. The latter are very gentle even though their history has been rough. Their religion is the Ismaili branch of Shia. Our guide referred to them as Shia Imami. They broke away from the Shia over a dispute regarding the seventh imam in the 8th c. CE. The present Iman is Karim Aga Khan who traces his lineage to Ali. He lives in London. What sets Ismailis apart from other muslims, is that they are much less dogmatic and quite relaxed in their religious observances. That, unfortunately, makes them a target for other muslims.


Hunza was an independent kingdom until 40 years ago when it became part of Pakistan.


The white building in the lower left corner of the picture above was our hotel. We were the only guests. Tourism, once a main source of income for the region, has been effectively killed by the Afghan, Pakistan, and Taliban terror problems. There are no guides left which is the reason that our guide came all the way from Karatchi in the south of Pakistan.



The map on the left shows the location of the Hunza valley in northern Pakistan. The main city is Karimabad and that’s where we stayed.


Here is another view of our hotel with the mountain peak called lady finger in the background and below.






The pictures to the right and below are views from our hotel showing the Diran Peak (23,622 ft).






Juergen and Amir Khan at the Hunza river. Juergen got a local Hunza hat which is very comfortable.



We took a jeep into one of the valleys to a village called Nagyr.




The scenery is ever changing and spectacular.


While we stopped for pictures we saw this fellow waving from his house. People here are Shiites and not as well off as the Ismailis.






Our final destination was the Batura Glacier Mountain (21,000 ft) above and right with the “black” glacier (above and below).






Whenever we stopped, out of nowhere, people appeared and offered locally found and crafted jewelry. They were not pushy at all, waiting patiently.





One of the ruby necklaces followed Yvonne home…


In Karimabad is the Baltit fort which was the royal palace for 750 years (until the last century). It played a role in the Great Game.


 It’s now a museum.






This man was at the ticket counter and we actually met him in his son’s woodwork shop (see below) while we were walking up to the castle. Very few tourists are around.


Many people have taken his

photo and sent copies to him.

He showed us a drawer full!



We were shown around by the curator whose grandfather was the high official who welcomed Colonel Younghusband, a famous player in the Great Game. The curator studied at the Museum für Völkerkunde in Munich and now loves Germans so we were very welcome guests.






View from one of the Baltit Fort windows.


The security guard at the Fort initially didn’t want to smile, just look distinguished and proper. We did finally manage to make him laugh. He was a very friendly fellow, like most other people in Hunza.





Yvonne poses with a Tajik lady in a shop that sells local weavings and embroidery.


As we find so often, she wouldn’t

smile for the photo because she had few teeth.  It’s sad.




This is the son of the man at the ticket booth for the Baltit fort. We bought one of his beautifully crafted wooden spoons (for one dollar).


We took another jeep ride to the so-called eagle’s nest and got early evening shots of this magnificent glacier on the right and the mountain below.










A local carrying a heavy load with Mt. Rakaposhi (23,364 ft) in the background.


While walking around in Karimabad, we ran into someone who manages another hotel and whom Amir Khan knew. We were invited to his house and his wife and daughters served us delicious snacks and tea.




Even the potato flowers are beautiful in Hunza.


Cherries were just in season (in late May at an elevation of 7400 ft) and they were delicious.




We talked to this local guy (Amir Khan translated). We really liked his face and his eyes.


These kids were cooling bunches of cherries in the cold glacier canal. Canals bring the glacier water to the fields and homes.