One of Xi'an’s newest attractions, the Xi'an Museum, stands nearby one of its oldest, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, built around 707. The 15-tiered stone structure has witnessed centuries of history—a history on display in its neighboring museum through a collection of archaeological pieces, jade ornaments, calligraphy, and Buddhist art.
While not as popular as the Shaanxi History Museum and Big Wild Goose Pagoda, this pair of Xi'an attractions offers a juxtaposed glimpse at the city, ancient and modern. Climb a narrow staircase to the top of the pagoda for panoramic views over the temple complex and then head into the museum to watch a video on the history of the pagoda before touring the collection of Buddhist statues and other works of art.
The Xi'an Museum and neighboring pagoda are sometimes included in sightseeing tours, along with Xi'an attractions, such as the Terracotta Warriors, Xi'an City Wall, and the Muslim District.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Xi'an Museum and Small Goose Pagoda are must-sees for history buffs and those looking to get off the beaten path.
- Jianfu Temple, where the Small Goose Pagoda is located, is free to enter but both the pagoda and museum require tickets.
- Don’t forget to bring a valid photo ID to pick up a free ticket to the museum.
- Only a limited number of tickets are available each day, so book early to avoid disappointment.
How to Get There
Both the museum and pagoda are situated on the grounds of Jianfu Temple in south Xi'an. Tourist buses 7 and 8 both stop near the temple at Xiaoyanta Station, or you can ride the Xi'an Metro (Line 2) to Nanshaomen Station.
When to Get There
The temple grounds are open Wednesday to Sunday throughout the year. Plan to visit on a weekday morning, if possible, and avoid visiting on Chinese national holidays.
The Magical History of the Small Wild Goose Pagoda
According to local legend, an earthquake in 1487 created a large crack in the wall of the Small Wild Goose Pagoda. In 1521, another earthquake shook the structure, but this time the crack disappeared seemingly overnight. During a restoration in the late 20th century, architects learned that the rammed earth foundation of the pagoda allows it to withstand earthquakes by evenly distributing the pressure, though the mysterious sealing of the crack has never been explained.