The Waterwheel Garden, covering 55,900 square meters, is a famous national 4A tourist attraction located on the southern bank of the Yellow River in Lanzhou. The waterwheel promoted agricultural and social development of Lanzhou at that time. It is certainly an exciting experience for the visitors to tour around the Waterwheel Garden, a restoration of the ancient irrigation system.
Chinese Name: 水车公园
Location: at the western of Binhe Road.
Tel: +86 931-8587111
Opening Time: 8:00-18:00 (8:00-20:00 in summer)
Best Time to Visit: The best season is in July, while it is not recommended in the cold winter and the windy spring. As the water landscape, the Waterwheel Garden is preferred to be visited on warm days.
By bus: Taking No.15 and 20 can reach there
By taxi: It takes 8 mins (3.4kms) to drive from Lanzhou train station.
History of the Waterwheel Garden
Lanzhou is the only city through which the Yellow River flows; that is, many irrigation machines in the city. The waterwheel invented by Duan Xu in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) is the oldest one. Duan Xu learned from the irrigation machines in Yunnan Province and created a distinctive style with the appearance of chariot wheels and a diameter ranging from 10 to 20 meters. The center of the bike was placed with an axle and boards; the brim of the wheel was fixed with many quadrate buckets. These buckets could carry water to a height of 15 to 18 meters to irrigate fields. About 252 waterwheels stood along the river in Lanzhou until 1952, and the city was reputed to be the 'City of Waterwheels’ at that time.
The Structure of Waterwheel Garden
The Structure of Waterwheel Garden
In the garden, two huge waterwheels with striking appearances stand uprightly on the south bank of the Yellow River. They are modeled on the antique waterwheel, having quadrate buckets and a diameter of 16.5 meters. In high water periods, they are driven by flowing water from the river; in low water periods, they are driven by water gathered by cofferdam. Over time, water stored in the cofferdam in canals would be used to push the waterwheel.
The theory of waterwheel is incredibly smart but straightforward, several water baskets are attached around the outer bound of the waterwheel; the water comes in from one side of the waterwheel; once filled with water, gravity together with the added weight of the baskets will turn the wheel and keep it rolling; the basket will empty itself and fill the wooden trough once it has passed the top of the waterwheel; the empty baskets will take more water while the channel will deliver the water for irrigation; the process continues.
Owing to the two waterwheels and an advantaged position, the Waterwheel Teahouse attracts many tourists. Here, visitors can appreciate the revolving waterwheels while enjoying a cup of tea. Moreover, the photo studio, stores, and the house of a water mill in the garden provide further entertainment, and tourists can experience crossing the river on a sheepskin raft in the garden, which is the most primeval ferrying tool in the northwest region of the Yellow River. A visit to the Waterwheel Garden will provide an insight into the irrigation tools of ancient times.
With 12 wheels of the Yellow River waterwheel in Lanzhou as main scenery, assemble the Chinese and foreign different forms, different styles of tens of waterwheels, Lanzhou Waterwheel Expo Park is currently the waterwheel theme parks which has the most varieties, the most significant number of waterwheel in the world. Among them, the Yellow River Waterwheel in Lanzhou due to its unique structure, exquisite craft, bold style becoming the representative of the waterwheel, and state-level intangible cultural heritage items.