Shaanxi History Museum

Why is Shaanxi History Museum So Special?

  1. The Shaanxi History Museum in Xi’an, regarded as ‘the pearl of ancient dynasties and house of Chinese treasures’, gives a miniature overview of the thousands of years of Chinese history and the splendid ancient cultures of olden times. 
  2. The Shaanxi History Museum is a good place to learn about ancient Chinese civilization. The Beast-Head-Shaped Agate Cup, the Silver Pot with Design of A Horse Dancing and Holding A Cup in Its Mouth, and the “Huang Hou Zhi Xi” are cultural artifacts that the country has prohibited from leaving the country and can only be seen in the Shaanxi History Museum.
  3. Shaanxi History Museum is one of the first huge state museums with modern facilities in China and one of the largest.

Brief Introduction of Shaanxi History Museum

Shaanxi was an important province in China’s imperial past. Xi’an served as the capital of China for 13 dynasties over 1,100 years, from 221 BC to 904 AD. It was the seat of China’s first imperial civilization.

Xi’an, a place of great significance in Chinese history, is well-endowed with historical sites and relics. Now most of these relics, once scattered around the region, have found their way to Shaanxi Provincial Museum.

Situated on Xiaozhai East Road on the northwest side of Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, the Shaanxi History Museum is the first modern national museum. It was built in 1983 and opened to the public in 1991. Shaanxi History Museum covers 65,000 square meters (16 acres), of which 11,000 square meters (207 acres) belong to the exhibition halls and 8,000 square meters (about 2 acres) are used as warehouses for storing relics. Now 370,000 exhibits in the museum vividly show the history of over a million years from prehistoric times (1,150,000 years ago – 21st Century BC) to about 1840 AD.

The museum houses over 370,000 items, including murals, paintings, pottery, coins, as well as bronze, gold, and silver objects. The modern museum was built between 1983 and 2001 and its appearance recalls the architectural style of the Tang Dynasty.

Layout and Construction of Shaanxi History Museum

The main buildings of Shaanxi History Museum include the Preface Hall, basic exhibition halls, special exhibition halls, and temporal exhibition Halls. The basic halls are divided into three exhibition halls with 2,000 cultural relics to display the history of ancient times in chronological order. The first exhibition Hall is located in the ground floor while other two is in the second floor. Else representative exhibition halls include Treasures of Great Tang in the west underground floor and Mural Paintings of Tang in the east underground floor.

While designing the buildings in Shaanxi History Museum, the great designer used traditional palace construction of Tang Dynasty for reference. Adopting symmetry axis layout with obvious principal and subordinate buildings in order and four worship halls around, the complex architectures show the charming presence of prosperous Tang Dynasty. The predominant colors of the buildings are white, grey and black which create an atmosphere of solemnity.

Main Exhibition Halls of Shaanxi History Museum

1F – No.1 Exhibition Hall

It shows the history of Prehistoric Times (1,150,000 years ago – 21st Century BC), Western Zhou (1046 – 771 BC) and Qin Dynasty (221 BC-206 BC). Different original cultures are mainly shown in prehistoric times. In the Western Zhou and Qin Dynasty areas, the origin and arising of these two dynasties are covered.

2F – No.2 Exhibition Hall

Golden Bowl with Lotus PatternsIt shows the history from the Han Dynasty to the Northern and Southern Dynasties (386-589). In the Han Dynasty, grand architecture and the cultural exchange with other countries are interesting. Everlasting wars and cultural integration are the main themes of the North and Southern Dynasties.

2F – No.3 Exhibition Hall

It covers the history of the Tang Dynasty and later years. The Tang Dynasty was the heyday of China and Shaanxi Province; so many different kinds of relics covering almost all aspects are shown in this section. You can see splendid gold and silver articles, tri-color glazed pottery, and articles related to the Silk Road in this hall. After the Tang Dynasty, although Xi’an lost its position as the capital city of China, it was still an important place. There are many relics that show its continuing importance.

Exhibition Hall of Tang Murals & Stone Coffins

Besides, another exhibition hall, focusing on 5 pieces of Tang Murals and stone coffins from Jingling Mausoleum, was open to the public in 2013 in Shaanxi History Museum. Jingling Mausoleum is the tomb of Zhenshun Empress of Emperor Xuanzong during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Lilongji. The coffin from her tomb, formed by 31 pieces of beautifully carved stones, weighs 27 tons and is about 2.5 meters long.  It looks like a small stone palace. It is currently the biggest and best preserved coffin among the more than 20 unearthed coffins from the Tang Dynasty.

Exhibition Hall for Treasures of Great Tang

Tang Dynasty is the most powerful dynasty in China’s history and gold ware, silver wares and jade articles are the symbol of Tang Dynasty. In 1970, more than 1,000 relics were discovered in Hejia Village in Shaanxi and they are exhibited in Shaanxi History Museum. These exhibits attract a mass of history-enthusiasts with its high quality, ample variety and good protection.

How to Plan a Xi’an Tour

Xian has a lot of places to visit. Terracotta Warriors and Horses is definitely the No.1 must-see. After that, take a stroll or rent a bike on the Ancient City Wall, the largest and best-preserved ancient city wall in China, to enjoy panoramic views of modern Xi’an. Then try some local snacks at the bustling and lively Muslim Quarter. On the next day, you can go to visit Da Cien Temple and Giant Wild Goose Pagoda to feel the Buddhist culture, then get a deeper understanding of the past of this city in Shaanxi History Museum. If you are interested in mountain climbing, don’t miss the challenging Mount Huashan which is famous for lofty peaks and steep paths. If you have other ideas or questions about a Xian tour, please feel free to contact us. We are also specialized in customized tours according to your own requirements, interests, travelling budgets, etc.

How to get to Shaanxi History Museum

Travel with ChinaDragonTours (top recommended)

If you want to get out of the traffic and hassle of navigation, you can book a private tour package that includes visiting, dining and transfer from us. Our local guide and driver will escort you to the Shaanxi History Museum in the fastest and most convenient way and take care of all the details. You just have to focus on the visiting.

Independent Traveler

  • By Bus:
    Take Bus No. 5, 19, 24, 30, 34, 271, 400, 401, 521, 527, or You 8 (610) and get off at Cuihua Lu (Cuihua Road) bus stop.
  • By Metro
    Take Metro Line 2 or  Line 3 to Xiaozhai Station, and exit from Exit D. Then, walk east along East Xiaozhai Road around 800 meters (0.5 miles) to get there.
    Take Metro Line 3 to Dayanta Station. And then walk west along East Xiaozhai Road for about 800 meters to reach.

Useful Travel Tips

  • Entrance Fee
    The museum issues 6,000 free ticket a day. (3,000 tickets in the morning and 3,000 tickets in the afternoon).
    1. An individual tourist can get only one ticket for himself / herself at the ticket office by the valid certification (such as ID card or passport). Group tours should be booked 24 hours in advance between 09:00 and 17:00.
    Reservation Tel: 029-85269547
    2. CNY 30 for the Exhibition Hall for Treasures of Great Tang Dynasty
    3. CNY 300 for the Exhibition Hall for Mural Paintings of Tang Dynasty
  • Though as one of the most important public museums in China, Shaanxi History Museum is not as large as the Beijing Palace Museum, Shanghai Museum, Nanjing Museum and other big museums. Currently only 6000 visitors are allowed to enter the museum each day, and reservation should be made on its official website or official Wechat account in advance. The counters don’t sell tickets. To reserve the tickets of Shaanxi History Museum, you (including Chinese) need to have a Wechat account to login in its official website ( or Wechat Account (陕西历史博物馆).
  • Bring your passport to claim your free ticket and some temporal exhibition is rechargeable.
  • Photography is permitted and using flash is prohibited.

Nearby Attractions

Edited by Bella Ren/任新月