Nurek Dam: Tallest Dam in the World

Height Comparison Team

Standing majestically in Tajikistan, Central Asia, the Nurek Dam commands attention as the tallest dam in the world, reaching an impressive height of 300 meters (984 feet).

This monumental structure, constructed on the Vakhsh River, serves multifaceted purposes, including hydroelectric power generation, irrigation, and flood control.

The Nurek Dam’s sheer scale and strategic location underscore its vital role in regional development and resource management, symbolizing human engineering prowess and ingenuity.

Stretching across the rugged landscape, the Nurek Dam is a testament to humanity’s ability to harness nature for its benefit. Its Height Comparison presence alters the scenery and represents a significant step in utilizing natural resources for societal progress.

As a landmark in the heart of Central Asia, the Nurek Dam symbolizes human ambition and innovation, demonstrating the triumph of engineering over the challenges of the tallest dam in the world and its impact on the local environment.

Nurek Dam: Tallest Dam in the World

tallest dam in the world

The Nurek Dam, located in Tajikistan, Central Asia, is the tallest in the world, towering 300 meters (984 feet). Constructed on the Vakhsh River, it serves multiple purposes, including hydroelectric power generation, irrigation, and flood control.

Completed in 1980, the dam’s reservoir has a capacity of 10.5 cubic kilometers, making it one of the largest artificial lakes globally. Its construction involved significant engineering challenges due to the region’s rugged terrain and seismic activity.

Despite these obstacles, the Nurek Dam has provided electricity and water resources to the surrounding areas, contributing to regional development and economic growth.

Additionally, tallest dam in the world has become a notable tourist attraction, drawing visitors worldwide to witness its monumental structure and scenic surroundings.

Category Information
Dam Name Nurek Dam
Location Vakhsh River, Tajikistan
Coordinates 38°22′04″N 69°20′29″E
Area (Reservoir) 98 square kilometers (38 square miles)
Built Year 1961-1980
Built For Hydroelectric power generation and irrigation
Dimensions Height: 300 meters (984 feet)

Length: 704 meters (2,310 feet)

Width (at crest): 25 meters (82 feet)

Architect Hydroproject Institute of Russia
Architectural Style Earth-fill embankment dam
No. of Visitors Every Year Information not readily available
Governing Body Barqi Tojik (national electric power company of Tajikistan), Government Property
UNESCO World Heritage Site No
No. of Floors Not applicable (embankment dam)
Top Floor Not applicable
Inaugurated By Likely officials from the Soviet Union and Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic (specific information not widely available)

Historical Information

What is the Origin and History of the Object/monument?

The Nurek Dam was constructed during the Soviet era in Tajikistan, a part of the Soviet Union. The decision to build the dam was made in the late 1950s to harness the Vakhsh River’s hydroelectric potential and provide irrigation for agriculture in the region.

Who Built It, and When Was It Constructed?

The Hydroproject Institute of Russia designed the dam, which Soviet engineers and workers constructed. The construction began in 1961 and was completed in 1980, taking nearly two decades.

What Was Its Purpose or Significance?

The primary purposes of the Nurek Dam were hydroelectric power generation and irrigation. The dam’s power station has an installed capacity of 3,015 MW, making it a significant source of electricity for Tajikistan. The dam’s reservoir also provides water for irrigating agricultural lands in the Vakhsh River valley.

Physical Attributes

Where is It Located?

The Nurek Dam is located on the Vakhsh River in central Tajikistan, approximately 70 km east of Dushanbe’s capital.

What Are Its Dimensions, Including Height, Area, and Design Features?

The Nurek Dam is 300 meters (984 feet) tall, making it the tallest dam in the world at its completion. The dam is 704 meters (2,310 feet) long and 25 meters (82 feet) wide at the crest. The reservoir created by the dam covers an area of approximately 98 square kilometers (38 square miles).

Is It a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

No, the Nurek Dam is not listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Architectural Details

What Materials Were Used in Its Construction?

The Nurek Dam is an earth-fill embankment dam, which means it is primarily constructed using natural materials such as rock, gravel, and soil. The dam’s core is clay, while the outer layers consist of rock and gravel.

How Many Floors Does It Have, and What Are Its Architectural Styles?

As an embankment dam, the Nurek Dam does not have traditional floors like a building. The dam’s architecture is functional, designed to withstand the immense pressure of the water it holds back.

Is It Known for Any Specific Design Elements or Aesthetics?

The Nurek Dam is known for its impressive size and the scale of its construction, which was a significant engineering feat at the time. However, as a functional structure, it is not mainly known for specific aesthetic design elements.

Cultural and Tourist Aspects

What is Its Cultural Significance or Mythology?

The Nurek Dam symbolizes Tajikistan’s industrial and engineering capabilities during the Soviet era. It represents the country’s efforts to harness its water resources for energy production and agricultural development.

How Popular is It Among Tourists?

While the Nurek Dam is an impressive engineering marvel, it is not a major tourist attraction in Tajikistan. Visitor numbers are not widely reported, and tourism infrastructure around the dam is limited.

What Events or Ceremonies Are Associated With It?

There are no notable regular events or ceremonies associated with the Nurek Dam.

Economic Aspects

How Much Does It Earn From Tourism?

Information about the dam’s earnings from tourism is not readily available, suggesting that tourism does not significantly impact its economic impact.

What is Their Income Source?

The primary income source for the Nurek Dam is the sale of electricity generated by its hydroelectric power station. The dam is owned and operated by Barqi Tojik, the national electric power company of Tajikistan, and the revenue generated from electricity sales goes to the state.

Conditions and Maintenance

What is Its Current Condition and Resistance to Natural Disasters?

The Nurek Dam is generally in good condition, having undergone regular maintenance and upgrades since its construction. However, like all large dams, it is potentially vulnerable to seismic activity and extreme weather events. Tajikistan is located in a seismically active region, and experts have discussed the dam’s ability to withstand strong earthquakes.

How is Its Maintenance Handled, and What Are the Challenges?

Barqi Tojik, the state-owned electric power company, handles the maintenance of the Nurek Dam. Challenges include:

  • Ensuring the dam’s structural integrity.
  • Managing sediment buildup in the reservoir.
  • Maintaining the hydroelectric power station’s efficiency.

Funding for maintenance and upgrades can also be challenging, as Tajikistan’s economy is relatively small and heavily dependent on remittances from citizens working abroad.

Recognition and Awards

Has It Received Any Awards or Recognition Nationally or Internationally?

The Nurek Dam has been recognized as an impressive engineering achievement, particularly in Soviet-era construction. However, specific information about awards or recognition is not widely available.

What Are the Notable Features That Have Earned It Acclaim?

The Nurek Dam’s most notable feature is its height, as it was the tallest dam in the world at its completion. Its construction in a seismically active region and its role in Tajikistan’s energy production and agricultural irrigation have also contributed to its recognition as a significant engineering project.


The Nurek Dam is a remarkable engineering feat and a symbol of human ingenuity. As the tallest dam in the world, it represents the extraordinary efforts undertaken to harness nature’s power for society’s benefit.

From its construction in the challenging terrain of Tajikistan to its ongoing role in providing vital resources such as electricity and water, the Nurek Dam has played a significant role in the region’s development and progress.

Its towering structure and vast reservoir inspire awe and admiration, attracting visitors and researchers alike. As we look to the future, the Nurek Dam serves as a testament to what can be achieved through innovation, perseverance, and cooperation, highlighting the potential for sustainable infrastructure to meet the growing needs of communities worldwide.

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