Karakoram highway as seen from the famous back wall of Altit fort. Courtesy Saad Munawar - Karakoram Highway

A new all-weather road, the Karakoram Highway connecting Rawalpindi/Islamabad with China’s Xinjiang Province runs through the Northern Areas.

The 805 km. dual carriage metalled road starts from Havelian 100 km. From Islamabad and winds through Abbottabad-Mansehra-Thakot-Besham-Pattan-Sazin-Ghils-Gilgit-Hunza to the Chinese Frontier across the 4,733 metres high Khunjerab Pass. The road built by the Pakistan Army engineers in association with the Chinese experts and technicians has been described as a marvel of civil engineering and even as “The Eighth Wonder of the World”. Completed in 15 years, it has been forced through some of the world’s toughest terrain. The road not only opens up the Northern Areas to trade and travel but also provides easy access to hitherto closed regions, connected by jeep or goat tracks.

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