Skardu (Urdu: سکردو, Balti: སྐརདུ་་) is a city in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan, and serves as the capital of Skardu District. Skardu is located in the 10 kilometres (6 miles) wide by 40 kilometres (25 miles) long Skardu Valley, at the confluence of the Indus and Shigar Rivers at an altitude of nearly 2,500 metres (8,202 feet). The city is an important gateway to the eight-thousanders of the nearby Karakoram Mountain range. The town is located on the Indus river, which separates the Karakoram Range from the Himalayas
The name “Skardu” is believed to be derived from the Balti word meaning “a low land between two high places.” The two referenced “high places” are Shigar city, and the high-altitude Satpara Lake
The first mention of Skardu dates to the first half of the 16th century. Mirza Haidar (1499–1551) described Askardu in the 16th-century text Tarikh-i-Rashidi Baltistan as one of the districts of the area. The first mention of Skardu in European literature was made by Frenchman François Bernier (1625–1688), who mentions the city by the name of Eskerdou. After his mention, Skardu was quickly drawn into Asian maps produced in Europe, and was first mentioned as Eskerdow the map “Indiae orientalis nec non insularum adiacentium nova descriptio” by Dutch engraver Nicolaes Visscher II, published between 1680–1700.
Skardu, along with Gilgit, is a major tourism, trekking and expedition hub in Gilgit–Baltistan. The mountainous terrain of the region, which includes four of the world’s 14 Eight-thousander peaks, attracts tourists, trekkers and mountaineers from around the world. The main tourist season is from April to October; except at this time, the area can be cut off for extended periods by the snowy, freezing winter weather.