Bangkok, Thailand, 1 September 2011 - The restoration of Altit Fort in Pakistan, an Aga Khan Trust for Culture project undertaken by the Aga Khan Cultural Service, has received an Award of Distinction at the 2011 UNESCO Asian-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.
Conservation works for the 900-year-old Altit Fort focused on mending structural defects, stabilising and repairing existing walls, replacing some roofs, treating wood decay and providing appropriate lighting.
“The Award of Distinction winner Altit Fort in Hunza, Pakistan represents yet another step forward in the model of community-based conservation practice that has been evolving in the body of work of the Aga Khan Cultural Service of Pakistan,” says the UNESCO Citation. “Meticulous historical research and scientific investigation informed the conservation work, which successfully tackled a complex array of problems. Today the building has regained its iconic place in the Hunza Valley and now serves as a beacon to inspire future generations.”
A unique aspect of the work was that the village at the base of the fort was restored before the fort. The village had been in danger of becoming deserted in favour of new construction; a third of its residents had already moved away. Because the new construction was using up valuable arable land, conservation efforts at Altit proceeded in reverse order: the village rehabilitation before the Fort. The introduction of water and sanitation facilities proved vital to the revitalisation of the traditional settlement.
The UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation present the awards in the belief that “recognising private efforts to restore and adapt historic properties will encourage other property owners to undertake conservation projects within the community, either independently or by seeking public-private partnerships”.
Since 2002, AKTC has received a number of conservation awards, including several previous UNESCO Culture Heritage Conservation awards. Please see Awards for more information.