Black Water National Site ​- ancient cultural sites from the Neolithic period

Last Update: 17th October 2020


Black Water National Site (Heishuiguo Site) is located 12.5 kilometers northwest of Zhangye. It is 15 kilometers long from north to south and 10 kilometers from east to west. It is an ancient cultural site in the Neolithic period. There are Han Dynasty tombs the area of which is about 4 square kilometres in the site.

Black Water National Site ​Fast Facts

  • Chinese Name: Heishuiguo Yizhi (黑水国遗址)
  • Area: 150 x square kilometers
  • Things to do there: Photography, Chinese Ancient Culture and History, Archaeology
  • Who visits: Photographers, Adventure Enthusiasts, Chinese Culture and History Lovers, Archaeologists
  • Time required: 1 – 3 x hours

What to expect at the Black Water National Site

Composed of the North City and the South City, Black Water National Site (Heishuiguo Site) is named after Black River. The North City is situated 2 kilometers from the South City. The North City was originally built in 121 BC while the south one was originally built in the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907).


The plane of the North City is rectangular, 245 meters long from east to west and 228 meters wide from north to south. There is a square corner pier with a base length of 9 meters at the southwest corner. The top is 7.2 meters long. Red and gray sand-filled pottery shards and the bricks in the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) and black glaze, pea green glaze, white glaze and blue-and-white ceramics in the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) can be found there.


The plane of the South City is 258 meters long from east to west and 226 meters wide from north to south. You will discover bronze mirrors, pottery, Wuzhu coins, bronze weapons, Dynasty, the bricks, residual stone mills and gray pottery shards in the Han Dynasty and black glazed tiles in the Ming Dynasty there.


A large number of tombs and small towns in the Han, Wei and Jin Dynasties (220 – 420) around the city site, and four village sites were found between the two cities. On the north and south sides of the Han Tombs, there are two ancient castles sites which are situated around 1 kilometer from each other. The two castles were identical in shape. The buildings at the two castles were destroyed. You will find countless ceramics, stone mills and the like at the two sites.

Best time to visit the Black Water National Site

If you are planning to visit Black Water National Site (Heishuiguo Site) for photography purpose, the best time to visit is during the sunset.


The best months to visit are from April to October.


How to get to the Black Water National Site

As there is no direct bus to the site, the only option is to rent a vehicle to the site from Zhangye.


Additional Black Water National Site Travel Advice

  • Opening hours: 24 hours
  • Admission fee: free
  • It is not suggested to explore the site from the middle November as there is always sand storm in Zhangye. Please check out the weather forecast on Google beforehand.
  • Please take enough warm clothes as the temperature difference in Zhangye especially in winter is big.
  • Please wear the sunscreen cream and sun glasses even in winter.
  • Please take body lotion, lip balm, and hand cream as it is always dry in Zhangye.
Interested in visiting the Black Water National Site on a Tour?

Wendy Wei Tours offers a variety of different packaged tours as well as custom tours including the Black Water National Site, among other attractions and destinations. To find out more, please visit our Tours page or Contact Us directly to find out more.