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The Silk Road Sights

Forest of Stone Tablets Museum (Bēilín bówùguǎn)

  • 15 Sanxue Jie at the end of Wenhua Jie Map It
  • Xian
  • Fodor's Choice

Updated 01/01/2015

Fodor's Review

Head here for a glimpse into what the ancient Chinese deemed important enough to set in stone. As the name suggests, there is no shortage of historical stone tablets, with content ranging from descriptions of administrative projects and old maps to artistic renditions of landscape, portraiture, and calligraphy. The garden complex and former Confucian temple house one of the world's first dictionaries and a number of Tang Dynasty classics as well as the epitaphs of nobility.

One tablet, known as the Nestorian Stela, dates from AD 781 and records the interaction between the Chinese emperor and a traveling Nestorian priest. After presenting the empire with translated Nestorian Christian texts, the priest was allowed to open a church in Xian. Non-Chinese speakers may feel frustrated that they can't read all the tablets, as only a few translations are available, but the complex is well worth the visit for history, anthropology, and culture buffs.

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Sight Information


15 Sanxue Jie at the end of Wenhua Jie, Xian, 710001, China

Map It



Sight Details:

  • Mar.–Nov. Y75, Dec.–Feb. Y50
  • Mar.–Nov., daily 8–6:45; Dec.–Feb., daily 8:15–5:15

Updated 01/01/2015


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