The information contained here are subject to change. Chinese History Digest is not responsible or liable if any changes should occur. If you can read Chinese, you could also check the official website of the Erlitou Site Museum of the Xia Capital for the latest information.
9am - 5pm
(no entry after 4pm)
closed on Mondays
Entrance Ticket Prices
visitors must present valid ID
aerial view of the Erlitou Relic MuseumThe Erlitou Relic Museum and the Erlitou Site are located only about 4km away from each other about an hour's drive to the east of the city of Luoyang in Henan province. Due to the Erlitou Site's location close to the banks of the Luo River southwest of Luoyang City's Yanshi District, it is also known as the Yanshi Erlitou Relic Site. It is a famous Bronze Age site that is associated with the Erlitou culture.
The Erlitou Site was inhabited from about 1900 BC until 1500 BC and most Chinese historians regard it as the site of the capital of the Xia dynasty. That conclusion is still disputed by the international archaeological community though. Many ancient relics that were uncovered during the various excavations of the site are now on display at the Erlitou Relic Museum which is also known as the Erlitou Site Museum of the Xia Capital. It was opened in 2019 just a short distance to the south of the Erlitou Site.
aerial view of the palace area inside the Erlitou Archaeological Site ParkThe Erlitou Ruins were discovered in 1959 by the renowned Chinese archaeologist and historian Xu Xusheng (Chinese: 徐旭生, 1888-1976). He at first believed that he had discovered the first capital of the Shang dynasty. However, most Chinese archaeologists nowadays believe that the site was the capital of the Xia dynasty state during its middle to late period of existence.
Since 2017, the Erlitou Ruins are accessible to the public as a part of the Erlitou Archaeological Site Park. It covers an area of about 700,000 square meters and can be explored in about an hour. For a better understanding of the site, it is however advisable to visit the Erlitou Relic Museum first before heading north to see the archaeological park.
excavation of the foundation of Palace No. 2 at the Erlitou SiteThe excavation of the ancient city of Erlitou revealed that it was built in four phases. At its peak, the city's population must have been around 24,000 people. The palace area where the elites of Erlitou society lived was located close to the center of the 3-square-kilometer site. It is China's earliest palace complex with Palace No. 1 and Palace No. 2 as its two main structures. The palace area was surrounded by a two-meter-thick wall of rammed earth. The irregular-shaped Palace No. 1 occupied an area of about 9,600 square meters. The 4,200 square meter Palace No. 2 was rectangular in shape and measured 73 meters from north to south and 58 meters from east to west. Its layout closely resembles palatial structures of later dynasties with a main palatial hall, a courtyard, gatehouses, walls and corridors.
A ritual district as well as a workshop area were respectively located to the north and south of the palace complex. Tombs were found to the east and west of the palaces and a network of roads extended outward from the palace area. The kilns of the workshop area produced pottery and bronze objects in large quantities. Furthermore, the artisans at the ancient city of Erlitou were also highly skilled in working with materials such as jade, turquoise, stone, bone and mussels.
bronze jue that was discovered at the Erlitou Ruins in 1975During the last six decades, more than 10,000 cultural relics have been excavated from the Erlitou Ruins. The finds were not limited to Erlitou culture relics. The discovered cultural relics in fact range in origin from the time of the Yangshao culture and Longshan culture all the way to the Han dynasty period. Two bronze objects that were discovered at the site have made national headlines. These were a bronze jue as well as a bronze ding. The bronze jue was discovered in 1975 and the bronze ding was discovered in 1987. The two Erlitou culture relics are the oldest bronze objects of their respective kinds that have so far been excavated in China.
However, the most famous of all the relics that were unearthed at the Erlitou Site is a dragon-shaped bronze object with more than 2,000 inlaid pieces of turquoise. A replica of this priceless national treasure can be seen at the Erlitou Relic Museum. The 70-centimeter-long object was unearthed in 2002 from a tomb of an elite member of Erlitou society along with a bronze bell. The stunning objects are believed to have had a ceremonial function.
turquoise dragon and bronze bell that were unearthed in 2002A thorough visit of the Erlitou Relic Museum will take about 3 hours. Altogether, there are 2,089 items on display inside, including 112 first-class national cultural relics. The museum that was designed in a modern contemporary style by the architecture firm TJAD/Rurban Studio covers an area of 31,781 square meters. It is located just a short drive (or a 40-minute walk) to the south of the Erlitou Ruins.
Before entering the large main building of the museum, travellers might want to watch the short video about the history of the site that can be seen inside the small visitor center at the entrance of the museum park. Inside the main building of the Erlitou Relic Museum, you will see many Erlitou culture relics out of bronze, jade and pottery as well as burial sets of nobles, turquoise objects, stone tools and objects made of seashells and bone. A unique feature of the museum are special work spaces with glass walls where visitors can observe researchers during the reconstruction of cultural relics from recently unearthed pottery fragments.
Erlitou culture pottery exhibited at the Erlitou Site Museum of the Xia CapitalThe Erlitou Relic Museum aims to help visitors understand the social development, history and culture of the Xia dynasty. In order to achieve this objective, the museum has five main exhibition halls as well as a digital exhibition hall on its second floor. This special digital hall contains a 3D digital theater, an immersive digital projection space as well as an interactive projection wall. Furthermore, the Erlitou Relic Museum occasionally organizes workshops and lectures that give visitors the opportunity to deepen their knowledge about the Erlitou culture and its link to the Xia dynasty.
The exhibition space of the five main exhibition halls is organized into three thematic sections. In the exhibition area of the first section, you will find historical documents and cultural relics that were unearthed from the Erlitou Site and other related archaeological sites. Together, these exhibits serve to illustrate the history of the Xia dynasty from its establishment to its collapse. The second thematic section focusses on presenting what historians have learned about the Xia dynasty and its capital since research of the Erlitou Site began in 1959. Finally, the exhibited photos, manuscripts, tools etc. that can be seen in the third thematic section of the Erlitou Relic Museum are meant to illustrate the work and achievements of the six pioneers Gu Jiegang, Xu Xusheng, Zhao Zhiquan, Xia Nai, An Jinhuai and Zou Heng that dedicated their careers to the study of the Erlitou Ruins and the Erlitou culture's link to the Xia dynasty.
After having visited the Erlitou Ruins Site and the Erlitou Relic Museum, visitors might want to plan a day trip to the Longmen Grottoes for another day. This Buddhist cave complex is a UNESCO World Heritage site that should not be missed when visiting Luoyang. It is located about an hour's drive away from the Erlitou Relic Museum close to the high-speed Luoyang Longmen Railway Station.view of the Erlitou Relic Museum near Luoyang
How to get to the Erlitou Relic Museum?
|Address:||Erlitou Site Museum of the Xia Capital, No. 1 Chuan Avenue, Yanshi District, Luoyang City, Henan Province, China|
|Tel.Nr.:||+86 379 6509 1899 (Monday - Sunday)|
+86 379 6509 1800 (Monday - Friday)
|Airport:||Luoyang Beijiao Airport (LYA)|
|Train Station:||Luoyang Longmen Railway Station, Luoyang Railway Station, Yanshi Railway Station|
|Bus:||bus line to/from Luoyang Longmen Railway Station: 910
bus line to/from Luoyang Bus Station: 807
On the following Google map, the blue icons mark the respective location of the Erlitou Relic Museum and the Yanshi Erlitou Relic Site. The yellow hotel bed icon shows the location of the Yanshi Savile Yucheng Hot Spring Hotel which is our recommended hotel nearby. Zoom out of the map to see the location of the Luoyang Ease House which is our recommended hotel near Luoyang's city center. Further down on this page, you can read a review of the services and amenities of both of these hotels. In case you are planning a trip to China, you could support this website by using the provided affiliate links to check prices and book your hotel accomodation!
You can book hotels in China with both of our affiliate partners Agoda and Trip.com. No matter whether you choose Agoda or Trip.com, you will find many offers on each of these platforms that will allow you to make a risk-free booking with the possibility of free cancellation until a clearly stated date and time, sometimes as late as on the intended date of arrival. However, some deals require prepayment and don't permit cancellation without fees. In that case, the incurred cancellation fees are clearly stated.
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Recommended Hotel near the Erlitou Site
The Yanshi Savile Yucheng Hot Spring Hotel that is reviewed below is located about 10.3km away from the Erlitou Site and about 11.2km away from the Erlitou Relic Museum. By taxi, it should typically take about 20 minutes from the hotel to either tourist sight. In addition to the links to Agoda that are used in the review below, this 4-star hotel is also available for booking on Trip.com by following this link.
The Yanshi Savile Yucheng Hot Spring Hotel is a modern 4-star hotel that was opened in 2021 at the Yanshi district of Luoyang. It is the closest 4 or 5-star hotel to the Erlitou Site and the Erlitou Relic Museum. Free parking is available outside this hotel. By taxi, both tourist sights can be reached within about 20 minutes. The hotel offers a taxi booking service but doesn't provide airport transfer services. The Luoyang Beijiao Airport is located 46.5km away from the hotel and can be reached by taxi in about 50 minutes. Tourists that travel to Luoyang by afternoon train from Zhengzhou also benefit from staying at the Yanshi Savile Yucheng Hot Spring Hotel due to its relative closeness (7.5km) to the Yanshi Railway Station. The afternoon trains K125 and K131 from Zhengzhou stop at this small railway station. However, trains that travel in the other direction (from Luoyang to Zhengzhou) do not stop there.
The Yanshi Savile Yucheng Hot Spring Hotel has a total of 138 rooms including rooms for business travellers, family rooms and suites. Smoking is not permitted in the public areas of the hotel. However, both smoking and non-smoking rooms are available for booking at this hotel. All rooms are air-conditioned and equipped with a minibar, electric kettle and LCD TV with cable channels. Free bottled water is provided in the rooms and the internet can be accessed through free Wi-Fi. Laundry service and luggage storage are available as well. The hotel has a restaurant and a lobby bar. Buffet breakfast is already included in most room rates but can also be purchased separately for 58 yuan per person per day.
6.4 miles away from the Yanshi Erlitou Relic SiteCheck availability & prices!
Recommended Hotel near Luoyang's Longmen Caves
The 4-star Luoyang Ease House that is reviewed below is located near Luoyang's city center. Convenient transportation to the airport and the high-speed Longmen Railway Station is available from its location. It is also just a short taxi ride away from the Longmen Caves. The roughly 30-kilometer-drive from this hotel to the Erlitou Site typically takes less than an hour. In addition to the links to Agoda that are used in the review below, this hotel is also available for booking on Trip.com by following this link.
The Luoyang Ease House is a 4-star business hotel in a quiet and clean residential area. It was built by an international design team in a style that mixes modern and traditional architectural design elements. Its location is ideal for travellers that come to Luoyang by high-speed train as the Luoyang Longmen Railway Station is just a short drive away. The hotel provides free shuttle service to/from this high-speed railway station upon request. Tourists that fly in to the Luoyang Beijiao Airport also have nothing to worry about since the hotel can provide free airport pickup upon request as well. Self-catering is a convenient and cheap option for guests of the Luoyang Ease House since it has a convenience store and is also very close to the Quanshun shopping center. Luoyang's city center is a mere 1 km away and the Longmen Grottoes are just a few miles south.
The heated and air-conditioned rooms of the Luoyang Ease House are highly rated for their cleanliness and comfort. Besides the standard rooms, there are VIP rooms, family rooms as well as suites available and non-smoking rooms can be requested. All rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV, air purifier, writing table and mini-bar and free breakfast is included. Free Wi-Fi is available in all the rooms and the public areas. Laundry service (including dry cleaning) and luggage storage are available as well. Guests can satisfy their culinary needs and desires at the hotel's restaurant, bar and coffee shop. An unusual and highly original feature of this hotel is that it has a library with nearly 10,000 books and magazines and a reading area on each floor.
18.1 miles away from the Yanshi Erlitou Relic SiteCheck availability & prices!