The alleged unconfirmed photograph of the Great White Pyramid of China. It is said that this ancient Chinese pyramid is twice as large as the Great Pyramid of Giza.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Ancient Chinese Pyramids

The Chinese government has done and continues to do everything in its power to keep the ancient Chinese pyramids out of reach. Even decades after they were revealed to the general public, only a few have been excavated and studied.

Due to China’s relative secrecy, any find, especially an unexpected one, obtained as a result of a random flight or a photo from space, becomes a sensation. The fact that the ancient Chinese pyramids became famous so late is the result of the relatively late development of Chinese archeology – it simply did not exist until the mid-20th century. 

Even to this day, few have been excavated, once again due to the secrecy of the Chinese government but here are 10 things you likely didn’t know about the ancient Chinese pyramids.

1. The first glimpse of the Chinese pyramids occurred during a WWII flight

The pyramids were first spotted in 1945 by an American military pilot. He was on a routine mission between China and India and was amazed by what he saw. These pyramids bore a striking resemblance to the Egyptian, Aztec, and Mayan pyramids. Intrigued by what he saw, he wanted to investigate them, but the local authorities prevented him.

2. The Shaanxi Province, where most of the ancient Chinese pyramids are located, is closed to access

For now, the Shaanxi Province, home to most of the ancient Chinese pyramids, is still largely closed to outside expeditions, creating a huge amount of speculation and unclear hypotheses.

3. 38 ancient Chinese pyramids have been located and confirmed in the Shaanxi province alone

In Shaanxi alone, there are 38 registered pyramids – they are the burial grounds of emperors and high nobles, built by different dynasties, as well as probably earlier cultures that inhabited the territory of China.

4. Only two pyramids have been freely excavated to this day

It is more than clear that the Chinese government does not want to have its ancient monuments excavated by Western archaeologists. To this day, they have granted access to only two even after their existence was made public decades ago.

5. All ancient Chinese pyramids are densely covered by vegetation

The Chinese pyramids, just like the Mexican ones, are densely overgrown with vegetation: shrubs and even trees grow on them. Probably thanks to this natural camouflage, they have managed to go unnoticed for so long.

6. Several ancient Chinese pyramids were turned into national parks without being excavated

Several pyramid sites were turned into national parks artificially. The Chinese government purposely planted the entire areas with fast-growing trees which are considered an additional attempt to hide the ancient pyramids from the public.

7. The famous Chinese White Pyramid is said to be more than 300 meters high

No other Chinese pyramid has drawn as much attention as the famous White Pyramid. It is said that it is nearly 300 meters high and covers twice the area of the Great Pyramid of Giza. It was the first pyramid that the American pilot spotted during his flight. Of course, access to the site has been forbidden by the Chinese government, and the area is protected by the military.

8. Satellite images revealed several hundred pyramids in the region

Few archaeologists and experts have been allowed in the Shaanxi region and based on their accounts, there were more than 100 potential pyramids in the region. However, numerous satellite images have revealed a significantly higher count, suggesting there are more than 400 just in this region and more in other places in China.

9. Most ancient Chinese pyramids are aligned to the four cardinal directions

Like the Egyptian pyramids, the ancient Chinese ones were also aligned to the four cardinal directions. At least a large percentage of them were. After all, ancient traditions suggest that the emperors gained their powers directly from heaven. This is why most pyramids are aligned to perfection both to the cardinal directions and the stars in the sky.

10. Local legends suggest that the pyramids are more than 5000 years old

It is impossible to date the ancient Chinese pyramids without proper excavations and research but based on the current knowledge of the accessed sites, they were all made at least 4500 years ago during the dynastic ages in China.

As for the local legends, Chinese people claim that the pyramids are even older and were built by a civilization that came from the sky.


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Written by Vladislav Tchakarov

Hello, my name is Vladislav and I am glad to have you here on Curiosmos. My experience as a freelance writer began in 2018 but I have been part of the Curiosmos family since mid-2020. As a history student, I have a strong passion for history and science, and the opportunity to research and write in this field on a daily basis is a dream come true.

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