Banpo Village, a well-preserved archaeological site in the Yellow River Valley, dates back more than 6,000 years. Thought to be one of the oldest human settlements in China, this Neolithic village once comprised a defensive moat and about 45 circular mud-and-wood thatched houses—predecessors of later Chinese architecture.
Juxtaposed with the modern buildings and busy roads surrounding it, this prehistoric archaeological site allows visitors to tour the excavated remains of the village and get some context at the Banpo Neolithic Village Museum. The exhibit halls display cultural relics, including tools and household items, from the excavation, as well as information about this prehistoric matriarchal society.
Most city sightseeing tours skip Banpo Village, so if you’re not visiting on your own, opt for a private customizable tour of Xian or choose a tour that combines the village with a trip out to the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These tours typically include a stop at some Tang dynasty imperial pools as well.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Banpo Village is a must-see for history buffs and those looking to get away from the crowds.
- Give yourself two to three hours to tour the complex and museum.
- Visit the site with a local guide for a better understanding of its historical and cultural significance.
How to Get There
Banpo Village is located about 6 miles (10 kilometers) from the Xian Railway Station and takes about 20 minutes to reach by taxi. To get there by public transit, take a public bus to Banpo Neolithic Village Museum station (Banpo Bowuguan) or metro line 1 to Banpo station.
When to Get There
Banpo Village is open to visitors daily throughout the year, and since it’s a bit off the usual tourist circuit, it doesn’t get the crowds that the Terracotta Warriors do. Aside from Chinese national holidays, there isn’t really a bad time to visit.
The Yangshao culture that once inhabited Banpo Village was matrilineal, with ancestry traced through the mother’s line. Female graves excavated at the site contained more grave goods than those of males, with much greater evidence of female leadership. A hunter-gatherer community that eventually shifted to farming, the Yangshao people were known for their sophisticated ceramics.