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The Fier forms part of the commune's southern border, flows west through the northern part of town. The city was built around its castle (Château d'Annecy), where the main street (rue de la République) is named after Henri Dufour, a 20th-century Swiss hero who won many alpine races and became world champion in 1923. The narrow valley between Mount Jura and Mount Blanc was shaped by glaciers during past ice ages; at one time an ancient lake occupied its floor. Today Annecy is partially protected from flooding by a series of large dams including those forming Lake Annecy (), formed in 1927 to provide hydroelectricity production as well as water for irrigation and domestic use throughout southeastern France; it also serves recreational activities such as sailing, fishing or swimming on its beaches along with boating opportunities on two lakes: Lac du Bourget ()—the largest body within Lake Annecy—and Lac d'Annecy ().