The Waterwheel Garden to south bank of Yellow River in Lanzhou City is one of the most distinctive spots along the Huanghe Fengqiang Line. Waterwheel garden consists of four parts: waterwheel sets, cofferdams, water mills, and amusement area. But it is most famous for the various sized waterwheels. The waterwheel was created in the Ming Dynasty, and it is the most ancient irrigation tools along the Yellow River. The waterwheels looks much like the wheels of war chariots of ancient time. The diameters of the wheels ranges from 20 meters to 10 meters and the waterwheels could lift water to 15m to 18m high. In the very center of the wheel fixes the axis,and to the edges of the spokes fix the scrapers and among spokes hang the same-sized little square water tanks. in the rainy period, the natural river water offers energy for the waterwheels’ rotation and in the drought period, the water from the cofferdams will offer energy for the waterwheels. When the waterwheel rotates, the little water tanks soaked in water will take water and when is raised to certain place the water tanks will pour water into the wooden water gutter, then along the canal the water will irrigate farmland.
he first well-functioned waterwheel was made in the Ming Dynasty of the year 1556 and it was fixed on the north bank of Yellow River of Lanzhou part. Seeing the success of the first waterwheels, farmers along the two banks of the Yellow River. Till the end of the Qing Dynasty, there were 157 irrigating waterwheels in Lanzhou. And in 1950s, there were over 350 waterwheels fixed along the banks of Yellow River from Guide of Qinghai Province to Zhongwei of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region which offers plenty of irrigating water for broad farmland.
In Waterwheel Garden tourists could also optionally take a Sheepskin raft to cross Yellow River if they have interest. Sheepskin raft is a kind of ancient and simple wherry tools along Yellow River in the northwest part of China. The raft is made of either sheepskin or cattle skin. Due to the simple making process, low cost, enough skin resource and easy handle method, the sheepskin raft became the most popular and traditional wherry tool in this area.