Itaipu Dam

In Foz do Iguacu we also visited Itaipu Dam. Voted one of the seven “Modern Wonders of the World” by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Being the geeky engineers that we are, when we heard that we could visit the world’s second largest hydro-electric dam in the world, we made it a priority to go.



Itaipu Dam is located on the border between Brazil and Paraguay and the entire site is considered a Binational area. Therefore, we were technically in Paraguay, without the hassle of a visa and border crossing. Construction started in 1974 and the dam first generated power in 1984, fully operational in 1991 with a capacity expansion in 2007.  The course of the seventh largest river in the world, the Parana River, was shifted in the process of building the dam.



  • The course of the seventh biggest river in the world was shifted, as were 50 million tons of earth and rock.
  • The amount of concrete used to build the Itaipu Power Plant would be enough to build 210 football stadiums the size of the Estádio do Maracanã.
  • The iron and steel used would allow for the construction of 380 Eiffel Towers.
  • The volume of excavation of earth and rock in Itaipu is 8.5 times greater than that of the Channel Tunnel and the volume of concrete is 15 times greater.
  • Around forty thousand people worked in the construction.
  • Itaipu is one of the most expensive objects ever built.

*The spillway we built in Manitoba feels like child’s play compared to this behemoth monstrosity.

One thought on “Itaipu Dam

  1. Anna Jean Msllinson says:

    Amazing for you two engineers to see this! You would understand what you are looking at. Thanks for the statistics! Love the photos!

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