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The Top Five Most Spectacular Dams in the World

Updated on July 23, 2011

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The Top Five Most Spectacular Dams in the World:

1. Contra Dam, Ticino, Switzerland

2. Mratinje Dam, Montenegro

3. Grande Dixence Dam, Hérémence, Switzerland

4. El Cajón Dam, Honduras

5. Hoover Dam, United States

Contra Dam

Location: Ticino, Switzerland

Height: 220 m (720 ft)

Length: 380 m (1,250 ft)

Impounds (water source): Verzasca River

The surface area of the dam is 44,500 meters squared or 479,000 square feet.

This magnificent venue was used in the 1995 James Bond film, Golden Eye, when a stuntman jumps from the top.


Mratinje Dam

Location: the northern corner of Montenegro (which borders the eastern European countries of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Serbia, Kosovo, and Croatia)

Height: 220 meters (722 ft)

Length: 268 meters (879 ft)

Impounds: Piva River

The dam opened in 1976 after five years of construction.

A beautiful view of the Piva Lake Reservoir above the dam.
A beautiful view of the Piva Lake Reservoir above the dam.

El Cajón Dam

Location: Western Honduras

Height: 226 meters (741 ft)

Length: 282 meters (925 ft)

Impounds: Comayagua River

Construction lasted five years from 1980 to 1985

Grande Dixence Dam

Location: Hérémence, Switzerland (Southwest Switzerland)

Height: 285 meters (the tallest dam in the world)

Length: 700 meters

Impounds: Dixence River

Commission Date: 1965

The dam is 200 meters (656 ft) thick at its base. The total amount of contrete used in this dam was roughly 6,000,000 meters3 or 211,888,000 cubic feet.


Hoover Dam

Location: Situated on the state borders of Arizona and Nevada in the United States

Height: 221 meters (726 ft)

Length: 379 meters (1,244 ft)

Impounds: Colorado River

The dam is 200 (660 ft) meters thick at its base.

Construction was started in 1931 and was ready for use in 1936. 112 people died during the construction.



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    • Jason Matthews profile image

      Jason Matthews 4 years ago from North Carolina

      @ saitam: I agree. These dams do look scary. I guess we are putting quite a lot of trust in the engineers who designed and built these amazing structures. My hat goes off to them and everyone who helped with construction!

    • saitam profile image

      saitam 4 years ago from Lisbon

      Great photos and good information, some of the dams look scary, it is amazing how they can hold so much pressure.

    • Jason Matthews profile image

      Jason Matthews 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks very much Kikalina! I love traveling because of all the sights and incredible views. Looking at pictures like these make me feel like I am traveling!

    • kikalina profile image

      kikalina 6 years ago from Europe

      Your hub reminded me of how much I love to travel. ty voted up.

    • Jason Matthews profile image

      Jason Matthews 6 years ago from North Carolina

      I need to correct myself. The Vajont Dam which I mentioned above never collapsed or was broken, rather a wall of water over 600 feet high overtopped the dam and flooded the nearby communities, killing 2,500 people.

    • Jason Matthews profile image

      Jason Matthews 6 years ago from North Carolina

      @ Paradise7: thanks...I love architecture so the pictures really fascinate me.

      @ The Frog Prince: much appreciated...thanks for reading!

      @ daryl2007: I know what you're saying...those dams are so tall is seems like they could just topple over. Actually that happened once. Vajont Dam, one of the tallest in the world, collapsed after being overtopped by a landslide. However, there were known issues during construction, but they were disregarded and 2,000 people were killed when the dam collapsed. Fortunately, however, this is a very rare case. Dams are built to withstand various natural effects and while they may look skinny...many dams are extremely thick. As I mentioned in the article, both the Grand Dixence Dam and the Hoover Dam are over 650 feet wide at the base. The Hoover dam is nearly as wide at the base as it is tall!

    • daryl2007 profile image

      daryl2007 6 years ago

      when i look at scares single earthquake might crack the hell of it...and destroys the towns below...scary just like in the movies...

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 6 years ago from Arlington, TX

      In a word - magnificent!

      Great work and spectacular pics.

      The Frog

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Great pics, I must say.