Forts of Pakistan
Pakistan has a large number of historical forts. Built mainly to protect cities, they are also representing the architecture of their respective eras. Although time has diminished their grandeur, they still stand to tell the tale of their past glory. Some forts worth visiting are:
1. The Red Fort
Originally named Shahi Qila, (Shahi means Royal and Qila means fort) it was nick named Lal (Red) Qila because of the red bricks used in its construction. It was built during the reign of the Moghul emperor Akbar it is an outstanding example of Moghul architecture. Moti Masjid, Sheesh Mahal and other impressive buildings are housed in the Red fort.
2. Rohtas Fort
Rohtas Fort lies 16km North West of the city of Jhelum on a tiny hillock 300 ft high. It was built by the Afghan ruler Sher Shah Suri as a garrison fort. Sher Shah Suri had captured the throne after ousting the Moghul emperor Humayun and to stop him from re entering India, this fort was built. The architecture is a unique blend of Afghan and Indian style of construction.
3. Qila Sheikhupura
Qila Sheikhupura lies in the city of Sheikhpura some 35 km from Lahore. It was built during the reign of Emperor Jehangir in 1607.
4. Qila Sialkot
It is the oldest fort in Pakistan. It was built by Raja Salban in the 2nd century.C.E to defend the city from invasions.
5. Baltit Fort
It is situated in the scenic Hunza Valley, upper north of Pakistan. It was built 700 years ago and was the residence of the rulers who later abandoned it. It stands on a high rock on stilted legs. It is under the Aga Khan T rust for Culture Historic Cities Support Programme. Now turned into a museum, it is run by the Baltit Heritage Trust.
With a circumference of 24 km, it is the world’s largest fort. Rani Kot fort is located in the Kirthar range around 90 km from Karachi. A mystery regarding its origins shrouds the fort. No one knows who constructed it and why. The biggest enigma is its barren location.
7. Bala Hisar Fort
It is situated in the city of Peshawar. Constructed on a mound, it was named Bala Hisar (High Fort) by the Afghan ruler Taimoor Shah Durrani. It was destroyed and rebuilt a number of times. Bala Hisar has been serving as the Head Quarter of the Frontier Corps since 1949.
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