Central Asia, XIIIth century

Published on 30 January 2008
Kebar, first arch dam since Roman times.
Downstream dam abutment


First arch dams of Central Asia

The first arch dams to appear in Central Asia were inspired by a technique developed from the 3rd century by the Sassanians.
The oldest examples are to be found in Iran, where the Ilkhan Mongol dynasty rebuilt the country that had been ravaged a century earlier by its own armies.

Constructed around 1300AD, the Kebar dam, situated 60 km from Kashan, is said to be the oldest arch dam built since Roman times. It is 45 metres high and 55 metres in length.

The record for height, however, goes to the Kurit dam, built at the end of the XIIIth century 620 km from Teheran. With its 64 metres in height (against only 28 metres in length), it was to remain the highest arch dam in the world until the beginning of the XXth century.

Both of them were used both for irrigation and water supply.