Anzhou is the only city through which the Yellow Riverflows; there are thus many irrigation machines in the city. The waterwheel invented by Duan Xu in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) is the oldest one. Duan Xu learnt from the irrigation machines in Yunnan Province and invented a distinctive style with the appearance of chariot wheels and a diameter ranging from 10 to 20 meters (32.8 to 65.6 feet). The center of the wheel was placed with an axle and boards, while the brim of the wheel was fixed with many quadrate buckets. These buckets could carry water to a height of 15 to 18 meters (49 to 59 feet) in order to irrigate fields. Until 1952, about 252 waterwheels stood along the river in Lanzhou, and at that time, the city was reputed to be the 'City of Waterwheels.
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 (54.1 feet). 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. Owing to the two waterwheels and an advantaged position, the Waterwheel Teahouse attracts a lot of tourists. Here, visitors can appreciate the revolving waterwheels while enjoying a cup of tea. Moreover, the photo studio, stores and the house of water mill in the garden provide further entertainment and convenience for visitors .
In the garden, tourists can experience crossing the river on a sheepskin raft, 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 .