Throughout history man has been building dams for various reasons, whether it was to prevent floods, generate electricity, or create a water supply. Starting thousands of years ago in the middle east as small walls, today dams are immensely huge power generation facilities that fulfill a number of tasks and take years to build. So, whether you recognize the impact these architectural wonders have had on your life or not, these are the 25 tallest dams in the world. (courtesy: http://list25.com)
25 Toktogul Dam
A hydroelectric and irrigation dam on the Naryn River in the Jalal-Abad Province of Kyrgyzstan, this dam is the shortest on our list at 215 meters high.
24 Longtan Dam
Longtan Dam is a large roller-compacted concrete gravity dam on the Hongshui River in China. It stands at 216.5 meters.
23 Glen Canyon Dam
Named for Glen Canyon, a colorful series of gorges most of which now lies under the reservoir, the dam created the second largest artificial lake in the United States.
22 Dworshak Dam
At 219 meters, Dworshak is the third tallest dam in the United States and the tallest straight-axis concrete dam in the Western Hemisphere.
21 Contra Dam, Switzerland
Commonly known as the Verzasca Dam and the Locarno Dam, the Contra is an arch dam on the Verzasca River in Switzerland.
20 Hoover Dam, Arizona
Once known as Boulder Dam, the Hoover Dam is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between the US states of Arizona and Nevada.
19 Luzzone Dam, Switzerland
Featuring the world’s highest artificial climbing wall on one of its sides, this dam stands at 225 meters.
18 Bhakra Dam, India
This is a concrete gravity dam across the Sutlej River near the border between Punjab and Himachal Pradesh in northern India.
17 Karun-4 Dam, Iran
An arch dam on the Karun River in Iran its primary objectives are electric power supply and flood control.
16 Shuibuya Dam, China
Built not just for power but also to promote flood control, navigation, tourism and fishery, the Shuibuya Dam is 233 meters tall.
15 Chirkey Dam, Russia
This arch dam on the Sulak River is the tallest arch dam in Russia at 232.5 meters.
14 El Cajón Dam, Honduras
Officially known as Central Hidroeléctrica Francisco Morazán, this dam is a hydroelectric power plant located in Western Honduras.
13 Oroville Dam, California
At 230 meters high this earthfill embankment dam on the Feather River in California is the tallest in the United States.
12 Ertan Dam, China
This 240 meter high arch dam can be found on the Yalong River, a tributary of the Yangtze River in Sichuan Province, southwest China
11 Sayano–Shushenskaya Dam, Russia
Located on the Yenisei River, near Sayanogorsk in Russia, this dam is the largest power plant in the country and the sixth-largest hydroelectric plant in the world.
10 Mica Dam, Canada
This 243 meter high dam spans the Colombia River 135 kilometres north of Revelstoke, Canada.
9 Deriner Dam, Turkey
Named after İbrahim Deriner, who died while serving as the Chief Engineer of its research team, the dam is located on the Çoruh River 3 miles east of Artvin, Turkey.
8 Laxiwa Dam, China
The Laxiwa Dam is a 250 meter high arch dam on the Yellow River in Qinghai Province, northwest China.
7 Mauvoisin Dam, Switzerland
With Mont Blanc de Cheilon in the background the Mauvoisin Dam creates the Lac de Mauvoisin in the Swiss alps.
6 Tehri Dam, India
This multi-purpose rock and earth-fill embankment dam on the Bhagirathi River near Tehri in Uttarakhand, India is 261 meters high.
5 Vajont Dam, Italy
A disused dam north of Venice, Italy, in 1963 a landslide caused the overtopping of the dam and around 2,000 deaths.
4 Inguri Dam, Georgia
This hydroelectric dam on the Inguri River in Georgia is the second highest concrete arch dam in the world.
3 Grande Dixence Dam, Switzerland
A concrete gravity dam on the Dixence River in Switzerland, at 285 meters it is the tallest of its kind in the world.
2 Xiaowan Dam, China
An arch dam on the Lancang (Mekong) River in China, its primary purpose is to provide hydroelectric power.
1 Nurek Dam, Tajikistan
This earth fill embankment dam on the Vakhsh River in Tajikistan is currently the tallest dam in the world at 300 meters.