When construction began on the High Dam in 1960, it was the most heralded part of President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s effort to develop Egypt for all Egyptians. While the dam is certainly not the largest in the world, it is an impressive engineering feat nonetheless, over 360 feet tall and 12,500 feet across.
The dam was completed in 1971 and the huge reservoir behind it, named for President Nasser, finished filling in 1979.
At the time of its construction, the High Dam was responsible for around 50 % of the electricity production in Egypt, providing electricity to most of Egypt’ villages for the first time. By regulating the flow of the river, the dam also increased the cultivatable land in Egypt by around 30% and allowed development in new areas that were previously inundated annually when the river flooded.
The dam is heavily guarded since it would wash most of Egypt into the Mediterranean if it burst.