When you travel, probably it is the least in your mind that you would visit a dam. Yes, the manmade structure usually is just a functional building where people get their electricity from. It’s like, what to see beyond a giant concrete holding the flow of a river? However, consider visiting the Krasnoyarsk Dam when you visit Russia.
Krasnoyarsk Dam is located in Krasnoyarsk, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia. The region is known for its impressive nature. Dubbed as the most beautiful city in Siberia, the city is passed by Yenisei river. Several islands are located in the river, with the largest two is Tatyshev and Otdyha Isles. To the west and south, the city is bordered by mountains such as Nikolayevskaya Sopka and Karaulnaya Gora.
Founded in 1628 The city is home to a population of one million. It’s passed by Trans Siberian Railway, one of the easy ways to explore Russia. Krasnoyarsk is also a gateway to the neighbor Mongolia. Historically speaking, the city rose to fame in the Soviet era, when it became the administrative center for Gulag. Many famous political prisoners were banished here.
- Impressive structure
Now let’s get back to the dam. Krasnoyarsk Dam is an impressive structure on its own. It’s 124-metre high concrete cutting the flow of Yenisei River. It was built from 1956 to 1972 and was the largest dam in the world at the time. It supplies 6000 Mega Watt of electricity, much of which goes into the Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Plant, the second largest aluminum plant in the world. The dam is a prominent landmark for Krasnoyarsk, even is commemorated on 10-ruble banknotes.
- Impressive work of civil engineering
Apart from supplying electricity, Krasnoyarsk Dam also affects the climate of the region. Yenisei River before used to freeze during winter, but after the construction of the dam, the river never freezes again, thanks to constant rapid water flows coming from the dam which happens all year round. Transportation isn’t affected, though, as a canal is built to let the ship to passage.
The canal is an impressive mechanic too. It’s a giant bowl of water able to carry a ship to the top of a dam and continue bringing it down back to the river. The whole process takes around 90 minutes. It operates by itself too, using a mode of rail transport. The giant transporter basically works like a train that climbs a hill up and down. It can carry several small boats at once. Such an impressive mechanism. No wonder this dam is a pride for local residents and also Russian people as a whole.
- Surrounded by nature
As an impressive landmark, nature surrounding the dam is only enhancing the magnificence of this structure. Yenisei River is surrounded by mountains blanketed by lush forest. Ask your driver to stop by at a viewpoint midway to the dam. This was you can see the bird-eye view of the dam and its surrounding. On good weather, you can also take a glimpse over the city and the Trans Siberian Railway Bridge. Below, you will also see the local villages and plenty of dachas (summer cottages).
You will also cross a river called Mana on the way to the dam. A popular place for rafting during summer, the river transforms into a frozen wonder during winter, unlike the never frozen Yenisei. The area around Mana River is quite a hit, being the most expensive spot to build a summer cottage.
- Town of Divnogorsk
To build the dam, over 20,000 workers were participating in this mega project. A town was built along the Yenisei embankment. The town, called Divnogorsk, was established to accommodate the dam workers. It means “beautiful mountains town” which also carry a literal meaning nowadays, as the town is the most environmentally clean in the region. The town is also the nice vantage point if you want to take a breathtaking view of the dam. It’s also where you can also feel the strong water blows coming from the dam.
Another viewpoint to see the dam is the ski slope on the mountain nearby, where you can go to the top using a chair lift. Atop, not only you can see the whole Krasnoyarsk Dam and a part of Krasnoyarsk city, but you can also see the part of the “Stolby” National Reserve.
- Animal sightings
Planning a trip to the vast Siberian land, you should also not miss the fauna of this region. On the way to and fro Krasnoyarsk, meet the creatures that dwell the pine forests of Siberia. Wolves and bears are the supposedly common animal inhabitants, along with several species of bird. However, if you’d rather not encounter them in the wild, the zoo is where you should go instead. Visit Royev Ruchei Zoo, it’s located at the border of Krasnoyarsk.
- Villages around the dam
For locals, the village around the dam holds a special place among their custom and tradition. Newlyweds couple would go here to celebrate. They will tie a ribbon on trees, hoping for a prosperous marriage filled with nothing but happiness and bliss (Read more about marriage custom in this region). If you want to see a classic Siberian village, go to Ovsyanka village where you can see rows of traditional houses. Ovsyanka is also home of famous Russian writer Victor Astafiev. A museum commemorates his life and works is established here. The museum also where you can learn about the Siberian culture.
So, in conclusion, there more to see in Krasnoyarsk beside its dam. If you’re a fan of impressive civil engineering work, this city is a must visit. To make things easier, a tour to the dam is offered by many trusted tour companies in Russia, so you can just choose a package without much fuss. Read about how to travel to Siberia easily. Happy traveling!