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The Park covers an area of 31.3 hectares. The river takes up 11.2 hectares. After many years of tedious construction and maintenance, the park has a fan-shaped layout. It divides the water system into eastern and western parts.
Xiaoyaojin Park is in the northeastern corner of Hefei's old district.
It is one of the top three historical sites in Hefei, and is famous as one of the battlefields of the Three Kingdoms Period. Its name comes from the Xiaoyaoxiu, a famous text of Zhuangzi.
The Eastern Part of Carefree Ford Park
The eastern water area and a large area of lawn is mainly for young people to amuse themselves in the playground, the cultural area and the zoo. There are buildings and cultural spots like Xiaoyao Pavilion, Dujin Bridge, Xiaoyao Villa, Xiaoyao Lake, the statue of Zhang Liao, a Children's Playground, an Amusement Park, a Lawn Square, a Culture Corridor and various kinds of service facilities such as restaurants and teahouses.
The southern gate of the park has a height of nearly 10 meters and a three-bay arch style. On the upper part of the gate is attached a tablet engraved with four gilt characters "Ancient Carefree Ford." They were written by Lu Junxiang, a teacher of Emperor Xuantong of the Qing Dynsty. When walking into the park, travellers will first see a bronze statue of Zhang Liao. It is about 5 meters tall. On the base of the statue are curved five Chinese characters: "Wei Zheng Xiao Yao Jin."
In the park, a variety of recreational facilities and a children's playground have been built on both sides of the main road. It has become a favorite place for young people. There are not only rotating slides, elephant slides, seesaws and swings, but also other recreational facilities like self-controlled aircraft, rotary horses, electric trains, electric cars, air bicycles, bumper cars, double flies, pirate ships, octopuses, flying chairs and flume rides.
Xiaoyao Lake is situated at the eastern part of the park. In the lake there are three islands. On the largest one is built a double-eaved pavilion with golden glazed tiles that is called Xiaoyao Villa. The island is connected with the shore by a stone bridge. The smallest island is called "Lo Island." The last island is said to be the burial place of Zhang Liao. On the three islands, the dense trees make a pleasant shade and a charming scene. Travellers can enjoy boating on the lake or walking on the 71 meter long Dujin Bridge to enjoy the scenery and ascend to the 22 meter high Xiaoyao Pavilion with the Han Dynasty architecture style.
There are two bridges connecting the eastern part and the western part, Beijin Bridge and Nanjin Bridge.
The Western Part of Carefree Ford Park,
The eastern section of the park has rivulets, gardens and undulating topography, and it is a serene place for people to relax. There, the scenery is designed to change with every step you take along the tranquil path while you are enjoying the green shade of trees, the beautiful garden houses and the walkways. The water and plants are the major features here, with additional decorations. The trees, rocks, architecture and water meld with many attractions like Waterside Pavilion, Meihua, Hill Peony Garden, Cangyou Garden, Zhang Liao's Cenotaph and some showrooms.
The Bonsai Garden also known as Cangyou Yuan covers an area of 2.4 hectares. The whole garden is separated into different areas by gates, windows, pools, corridors, walls and plants. The Bonsai Corridor that connects four galleries of different sizes in the form of the Chinese character Hui "回" shapes the garden into a courtyard for you to stroll through. In the garden, there is a pool, and on its surface water lilies bloom. In the Bonsai exhibition area, more than 50 varieties of plants are exhibited like five-leaved pines, Podocarpus, cypresses, plums, elms and other Bonsai trees. Bonsai trees are trees that have been carefully stunted or shaped. It is an Asian artform.
Zhang Liao Tomb
This tomb is situated at the eastern side of the Bonsai Garden. On the tomb is a pavilion and a stone memorial that reads: "The tomb of Zhang Liao, the general of the Wu Kingdom."
How to get there: Travellers can take buses No. 2, 6, 15, 123, 136, 137, 143, 155, 162, 166, 168 and 801 and get off at the Xiaoyaojin stop.