The Seven Most Incredible Dams in the World

If you stop and think about it, dams are one of the more remarkable manmade creations. To be able to control a force of nature is no small achievement, and these incredible dams are all a testament to human ingenuity in their design and purpose. Dams can be found all around the world, providing needed water and electricity to communities large and small as well as recreational activities to boost the local economy. Check out these seven amazing dams and marvel at their engineering feat.

1. Enguri Dam in Georgia

This impressive structure is the highest concrete arch dam in the world. Designed and completed in the 1970’s when the country was part of the Soviet Union, this hydroelectric dam sits over the Enguri River and stands at 272 meters tall.

2. Karun-3 Dam in Iran


This hydroelectric dam fits perfectly in the narrow gorge of a mountainous stretch on the Karun River. Its design relies on the force of the reservoir water to provide support for the foundation. The Karun Dam was completed in 2005 and delivers both power and flood control to the area.

3. Grande Dixence Dam in Switzerland

One of the most spectacular dams in Europe, the Grande Dixence is the tallest gravity dam in the world, standing at 285 meters high. Completed in 1961, the Grande Dixence is located in the southwest part of the country near Valais and powers four power stations.

4. Vajont Dam in Italy

the Vajont dam - la diga del Vajont

This dam, also completed in the 1960’s, is one of the most amazing dams for a very different reason. Constructed in an area known for landslides, it was completed and filled despite evidence demonstrating the instability. Unfortunately, the worst-case scenario became a reality when the dam overflowed because of a massive landslide. Over two thousand people lost their lives, and several villages were destroyed. It now sits out of commission as a memorial site to the many who perished.

5. Hoover Dam in the US

Straddling the state lines between Nevada and Arizona is perhaps the most iconic dam in the United States. It was completed in 1936 as the Works Progress Administration (WPA) project during the Great Depression. While it is not the largest dam, it does have the largest reservoir, Lake Mead. Many tourists visit the dam every year to see the art deco design and stand in two states at the same time.

6. Dworshak Dam in the US

Completed in 1973, this concrete gravity dam sits on the Clearwater River. Controversy surrounded it because of the environmental impact, but it is enjoyed by residents and tourists in Idaho for recreational activities, including boating, hiking, and fishing.

7. Tehri Dam in India


Unlike the other spectacular dams on this list, the Tehri is an embankment dam, the largest in all of India. Construction began in the late 1970’s but wasn’t completed until 2006. It now provides water and electricity to the area, but it is also a site of frequent protests for environmental and religious reasons.

Have you traveled to see any of these or other amazing dams around the world? Share your experience with our readers in the comments below.