) 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 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.
The fort dates from the 8th century CE and contains an old mosque probably dating back to the arrival of Islam in the 16th century CE.
Skardu Fort or Kharphocho Fort lies on the eastern face of the Khardrong or Mindoq-Khar ("Castle of Queen Mindoq") hill 15 metres (49 feet) above Skardu town.
Treks to the Deosai Plains, the second highest in the world at 4,114 metres (13,497 ft) above sea level, after the Chang Tang in Tibet, either start from or end at Skardu.
In the local Balti language, Deosai is called Byarsa, meaning 'summer place'.
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Baltis under the leadership of Raja Ahmed Shah soon also rose in rebellion against the Dogras, and so Maharaja Gulab Singh dispatched his commander Wazir Lakhpat to recapture Skardu.