2024 Latest Updates: Confucius Temple Area & Rubbings Exhibitions Open Only

Beilin Museum is currently undergoing renovation and expansion project, including the restoration of ancient buildings, enhancement of exhibition areas, and improvement of the overall museum environment. These efforts will take place from January to December 2024. Please be advised that the northern section of the museum, including Beilin Square, Exhibition Rooms 1–7, Xi'an Stone Sculpture Art Gallery (East), and Stone Sculpture Art Gallery (West), will be closed to visitors due to ongoing construction work.

Starting January 10th, the museum will offer a reduced ticket price (¥10/person). However, beginning January 14th, only the Confucius Temple ancient architectural complex area will be open to the public.

Rubbings exhibitions are currently featured in the Temporary Exhibition Hall, showcasing essential inscriptions and epitaphs that are highlights of the Beilin Museum. Visitors can still explore dozens of invaluable rubbings of renowned steles with available guide service.

Why Include Beilin Museum (Forest of Stone Steles) on Your Travel List

Xi'an Beilin Museum is a specialized institution dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of steles and engraved stone artworks. Built on the original site of the Confucius Temple in the Northern Song Dynasty (1087 CE), it boasts a history spanning over nine centuries. As the museum with the largest collection of stone carving artworks in China and home to the world's "oldest stone stele library," it showcases an impressive array of over 11,000 relics. Among these treasures are more than 4,000 pieces of stone steles dating from the Han Dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE) to the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912), along with 19 groups of artifacts revered as China's national treasures. As a distinguished "AAAAA National Tourist Attraction" and a "National Level I Museum," Beilin Museum meticulously documents the nation's history, literature, and spiritual beliefs, providing profound insights into not only China's literary tradition but also its rich cultural heritage.

Beilin Museum is particularly valuable for calligraphy enthusiasts, providing them with the opportunity to closely analyze the brushstrokes, compositions, and aesthetic principles used by masters throughout history. As a hub for learning, inspiration, and cultural enrichment, it holds immense significance, captivating hearts and minds with the timeless beauty of Chinese calligraphy across generations and countries.

Highlights of Beilin Museum (Forest of Stone Steles)

Calligraphic Steles in Beilin Square & Exhibition Rooms 1–7

Beilin Museum preserves a remarkable collection of stone steles, primarily displayed in pavilions and corridors in the Beilin Square and Exhibition Rooms 1–7. One noteworthy exhibit housed in the Stele Pavilion north of the Beilin Square is the "Classic on Filial Piety" (《石台孝经》) carved during the Tang Dynasty (745 CE). Notably, its preface, annotations, and calligraphy were personally written by Emperor Xuanzong, Li Longji (唐玄宗李隆基), while the inscription at the top of the stele was penned by his son and later Emperor Suzong, Li Heng (唐肃宗李亨). This stele, often referred to as the "first welcoming stele," stands as one of the museum's earliest acquisitions. The imperial calligraphy of the two emperors embodies their deep reverence for the Confucian classic, illustrating the moral principles of ancient Chinese rulers and the enduring societal values of the Tang Dynasty that continue to resonate today.

Exhibition Rooms 1–7 present stone carving masterpieces spanning over 2000 years, offering a comprehensive overview of Chinese script development and calligraphic evolution. Here, visitors can admire authentic works by renowned calligraphers and legendary poets across dynasties, including Wang Xizhi (王羲之), Ouyang Xun (欧阳询), Liu Gongquan (柳公权), Yan Zhenqing (颜真卿), and Su Shi (苏轼), all under one roof. Captivating anecdotes will add to the charm of the works. Just imagine observing calligrapher Zhang Xu's (张旭) famous work created when he was heavily drunk! And if you are lucky enough, you might even catch staff members making rubbings in the exhibition room, providing a firsthand glimpse into ancient methods of artwork reproduction and dissemination.

The Classic on Filial Piety The Classic on Filial Piety

Must-sees Include:

  • The "Cao Quan Stele" (《曹全碑》), an exquisite masterpiece among surviving Han Dynasty steles.
  • The "Preface of Holy Doctrine" (《大唐三藏圣教序》), compiling works by Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty, the Buddhist scholar Xuanzang, and the "Saint of Calligraphy" Wang Xizhi, hence known as the "Three Marvels Stele."
  • The "Kaicheng Stone Classics" (《开成石经》), the thickest and heaviest surviving stone book containing over ten Confucian classics, hailed as the "end of ancient editions and the ancestor of modern editions."
  • The "Nestorian Stele" (《大秦景教流行中国碑》), the earliest known Chinese Christian document. Marco Polo once referenced Chinese Nestorian Christians in his travelogue, affirming the stele's significance as evidence of East-West religious exchange.
Exhibition Room 5.jpg Exhibition Room 5 (©Xi'an Beilin Museum)

Xi'an Stone Sculpture Art Gallery (East)

Xi'an Stone Sculpture Art Gallery covers an area of 1462 square meters and exhibiting a total of 85 cultural relics. The main display content consists of tombstone carvings from the Han Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty.

Among them, the "Six Steeds of Zhao Mausoleum" (昭陵六骏) is a masterpiece of Tang Dynasty stone carving art. The work was commissioned by Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty (唐太宗李世民) to commemorate his six warhorses. It is said that the initial design was created by the renowned Tang Dynasty painter Yan Liben (阎立本), who supervised the carving process himself. Presented in bas-relief form, the "Six Steeds of Zhao Mausoleum" features innovative composition, refined carving techniques, and lifelike figures.

P.S. Two of the steeds, "Sa Lu Zi" (飒露紫) and "Quan Mao Gu" (拳毛騧), were lost overseas in 1914 and are currently housed in the Archaeological and Anthropological Museum of the University of Pennsylvania in the US. Xi'an Beilin Museum exhibits their replicas.

Qing Zhui Horse Qing Zhui Horse (©Xi'an Beilin Museum)

Stone Sculpture Art Gallery (West)

The Stone Sculpture Art Gallery covers an area of 1800 square meters. Its exhibition theme, "Chang'an Buddhist Art" (长安佛韵) showcases around 150 stone sculptures dating from the Northern Wei to the Song Dynasty, representing the pinnacle of Buddhist art in Xi'an throughout history. In 2011, "Chang'an Buddhist Art" was honored as one of the top ten quality exhibitions among national museums.

The gallery includes a multimedia interactive zone. Visitors can learn about the Beilin Museum and engage in traditional cultural experiences through sculpture simulations, virtual books, electronic rubbings, etc. There is also a nonprofit café run by individuals with hearing impairments on the ground floor. If you have some spare time, consider stopping by for a brief rest and to savor some delicious drinks.

Chang’an Buddhist Art Exhibition.jpg Chang'an Buddhist Art (©Xi'an Beilin Museum)

Confucius Temple Ancient Architectural Complex

Beilin Museum was expanded upon the ancient architectural complex of the Confucius Temple. Its origins can be traced back to the early Tang Dynasty, when the Confucius Temple was constructed within the grounds of the Chang'an Imperial College. Today, the Confucius Temple retains the fundamental layout and iconic structures from the Ming and Qing Dynasties: towering archways, ancient sacrificial pools, the solemn Lingxing Gate, and the majestic Laying Halberd Gate. These elements echo the former splendor of the Confucius Temple.

Adhering strictly to the principles of central axis and symmetrical layout inherent in traditional Chinese architecture, the entirety of the Confucius Temple exudes a sense of precision, solemnity, and grandeur. Together with the College and the Forest of Steles, the Confucius Temple not only serves as a place for honoring and worshiping Confucius, but also undertakes the role of promoting traditional Chinese culture and enlightening future generations through education.

On each side of the Laying Halberd Gate stand two national treasures: the Jingyun Bell (景云钟) and the Stone Horse of the Daxia Period (大夏石马), with histories of approximately 1300 and 1600 years, respectively. The inscription on the Jingyun Bell was written by Emperor Ruizong of the Tang Dynasty (唐睿宗李旦), earning it the title of "China's Greatest Bell." Previously hung on the Xi'an Bell Tower, its chimes are still broadcasted on television every Chinese New Year's Eve at midnight to this day.

The Confucius Temple.jpg The Confucius Temple (©Xi'an Beilin Museum) Jingyun Bell.jpg Jingyun Bell (©Xi'an Beilin Museum)

Location & Transportation of Beilin Meseum

Beilin Museum is located at No. 15 Sanxue Street, within the Wenchang Gate of the Ancient City Wall. It is 2km away from the Bell Tower in downtown (10 mins by car/bike; 25 mins on foot), 5km from the Big Wild Goose Pagoda (20 mins by car), 18km from Xi'an North Railway Station (40 mins by car), and 43km from the Terracotta Warriors and Horses (70 mins by car).

To Get There

  • By Metro: Take line 2 to Yongningmen Stop (永宁门) or line 4 to Hepingmen Stop (和平门), then walk to the museum.
  • By Bus: Multiple bus routes serve Baishulin (柏树林) and Wenchangmen (文昌门) stops nearby. All require a few minutes' walk after getting off.
  • China Discovery private transfer: We provide licensed private cars with experienced drivers to take you to all the attractions in Xi'an. For more information on Xi'an tours, please contact us.
Beilin Museum Transportation Map Click to Enlarge Beilin Museum Transportation Map

Warm Tips on Visiting Beilin Museum


  • Tickets can be purchased on-site or reserved online via the museum's official website or official WeChat account. Online tickets are available for purchase up to 5 days in advance, with a limit of 5 tickets per order and one rescheduling allowed. Unused tickets can be refunded online before 24:00 on the day of visit.
  • Combo tickets with the Xi'an Ancient City Wall are available for purchase at both the Beilin Museum ticket office and the ticket offices at the South Gate (Yongning Gate) and Wenchang Gate of the City Wall.
  • Foreign visitors need to provide their passport information when booking tickets.


The museum implements a real-name visitation policy. Please bring your passport for identity verification upon entry.

Hiring a Guide - Strongly Suggested

  • To fully appreciate the historical richness and cultural charm of the museum's exhibits, as well as to make your visit more enjoyable, we strongly suggest hiring a professional guide.
  • Beilin Museum offers a paid English-language guided tour service. Additionally, China Discovery provides private tour guides who can accompany you to explore not only the Beilin Museum but also any other attractions you wish to visit. Check out our top 6 Xi'an tour packages with lowest prices 2024/2025.

Visitor Services

  • The visitor service center, located at the southwest corner of the museum's front area, provides amenities such as hot water, wheelchairs, strollers, umbrellas, and chargers.
  • Free luggage storage is provided at the museum entrance.
  • The museum features barrier-free access throughout the exhibition area.
  • Ticket inquiry hotline: (+86) 029-87253331
  • Guide inquiry hotline: (+86) 029-87213868

To Explore More Attractions Around

Xi'an Ancient City Wall (Highly Recommended!)

Beilin museum is adjacent to the Wenchang Gate of the Xi'an Ancient City Wall. You can arrange to tour the Wall before or after visiting the museum. Xi'an Ancient City Wall is the largest and best-preserved ancient city wall in China. Walking or cycling along it provides excellent views of the Xi'an city.

Xi'an Bell Tower

Beilin Museum is 2 km away from the Bell Tower in downtown (10 mins by car/bike; 25 mins on foot). Standing at the geographical center of ancient Xi'an for over 600 years, the Xi'an Bell Tower is a symbol of the city. Initially used for timekeeping, it has transformed into a museum showcasing cultural relics and traditional artworks. During the day, visitors can enjoy captivating performances, while at night, the tower offers breathtaking views of the illuminated cityscape.

Xi'an Muslim Quarter

Around a 10-minute walk from the Bell Tower, you'll find the Muslim Quarter, celebrated for its diverse culinary delights, hospitable locals, and distinctive Ming/Qing dynasty architecture. This vibrant area, rooted in ancient immigration, attracts visitors from around the world with its wide array of delicious local snacks. Traditional mosques further enhance its charm, making it a must-visit destination for tourists."

Cycling on the Wall Our Clients Cycling on the Wall Muslism Quarter Muslim Quarter Snack Street

How to Plan a Xian Tour

How to Get to Xi’an: You can fly to Xi’an by international flights from Hong Kong, Macau, Seoul, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Nagoya, etc., or take domestic flights / high speed bullet trains to Xi'an from major domestic cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, etc.

Best Time to Visit Xi’an: The best time to visit Xi’an is March to May (in spring) & (September to November (in autumn) for the weather at this time is fine with beautiful scenery, which can offer more comfortable experience for outdoor sightseeing and activities.

Top Attractions to Visit in Xi’an: Terracotta Warriors, Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Shaanxi History Museum, Grand Tang Dynasty Ever Bright City, Ancient City Wall, Mount Huashan, Muslim Quarter, Bell Tower, etc.

As the ancient capital city of China for 13 dynasties, ruled by 73 emperors, Xian has left massive cultural heritages and relics for you to explore. Within about two days, you can finish visiting the main sites, which include the incredible man-made wonder, the Terracotta Warriors, the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, and the Muslim Quarter where you can get to try the local cuisines. Besides, biking around the Ancient City Wall and tracing back the history at Shaanxi History Museum and watching the Tang Dynasty Show, all of these activities are definitely unmissable for your stay in Xian. Now, it is available to have 144 hours Visa-Free Transit in Xian, and you can go for a history and culture tour or photography tour to explore all the stunning attractions in the city even without applying for a visa.

If you have more time, you can head to Luoyang, Hukou Waterfall, and the famous Mt. Huashan, which is about 120km away from the city area. Besides, you can start your Silk Road trip from the terminal Xian and travel along the route Marco Polo has visited, or you can regard Xian as your midway in China and start your trip from Beijing, Shanghai and even Lhasa to the west of Xian. China Discovery has designed many classic China tour packages including Xian for you. Let us customize one for you.Contact Us Now

Top-Recommended Xian Tour

☛ 2 Days Xian City Break

☛ 4 Days Xian Highlights Tour with Mount Huashan Hiking

☛ 5 Days Beijing Xian Highlights Tour by High Speed Train

Travel Xian with China Discovery

Want to travel in and around Xian and don't know how to arrange your day by day itinerary? Travel Xian with us, and all of your problems will be solved. In every city, our professional local guide and driver will escort you from your hotel, train station, airport to all attractions with comfortable private car with speed and convenience and let you catch the highlights of every site and city, so you can get really relaxed on the way and focus on what you are interested. The tour can be tailor made according to your plan, time and interests and demands. If you are interested, please feel free to contact us and tell us your needs, and we will customize a memorable tour for you!

We have helped many global travelers enjoy their memorable trips to Xian for the past few years. Among them, a special team of over 50 VIPKID teachers from North America traveled with us to see their dear studends in China with amazing experience in Xian and shared us their special travel story! Travel with China Discovery to create your wonderful Xian trip memories!

Recommended Xian Tours

Top 3 Xian tours chosen by most customers to explore Xian in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once inquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

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