The Hunza Valley is a mountainous valley 2 hours north of Gilgit in the Gilgit-Baltistan autonomous region, Pakistan. The Hunza valley is situated to the north of the Hunza River, at an elevation of around 2,500m (8200 ft). The territory of Hunza is about 10,109 square kilometres (6,281 sq miles).
Hunza is am incredibly beautiful and geographically impressive destination. Karimabad is the main town, which is also a very popular tourist destination because of its spectacular scenery of 6,000m plus mountains such as Ultar Sar, Rakaposhi, Bojahagur Duanasir II, Ghenta Peak, Hunza Peak, Diran Peak and Bublimating (Ladyfinger Peak).
The valley is popularly believed to be the inspiration for the mythical valley of Shangri-la in James Hilton’s 1933 novel Lost Horizon.
The People of Hunza
As much as the valley is famous for its beauty, the people of Hunza are noted for their friendliness and hospitality. The local languages spoken are Burushaski, Wakhi and Shina, many people understand Urdu. The literacy rate of the Hunza valley is believed to be more than 90%. Virtually every child of the new generation studies up to at least high school level. Many pursue higher studies from prestigious colleges and Universities of Pakistan and abroad.
The Hunza region is home to people of three ethnicities:
- The Lower Hunza area – (from Khizerabad to Nasirabad) is mainly inhabited by the Shinaki people who are Shina speakers.
- The Central Hunza area – (from Murtazaabad to Attabad) is mainly inhabited by Burushaski speakers.
- The Upper Hunza area, known as Gojal – (from Shiskat to Khunjerab) is mainly populated by Wakhi speakers.