The Qilian orogen marks the northern boundary of the Proto-Tethys Ocean and consists of the North Qilian belt, the Central Qilian block and the South Qilian belt. The metamorphic P–T–t path of the Central Qilian block and the tectonothermal processes that affected it are crucial to understanding the closure of the ocean. This paper presents a systematic investigation of the metamorphic P–T–t path of amphibolites from the Precambrian Huangyuan Group and Maxianshan Group in the Central Qilian block. An amphibole 40Ar/39Ar age of 456.7 ± 5.2 Ma from a garnet amphibolite and a 427.8 ± 3.8 Ma muscovite 40Ar/39Ar age from an orthogneiss in the Huangyuan Group, and amphibole and biotite 40Ar/39Ar ages of 408.7 ± 2.2 Ma and 349.9 ± 2.0 Ma from an amphibolite and a 361.4 ± 2.0 Ma biotite 40Ar/39Ar age from an orthogneiss in the Maxianshan Group record cooling stages after peak metamorphism. Phase equilibrium modeling of all amphibolite samples indicates clockwise P–T paths. A garnet amphibolite from the sillimanite zone in the Huangyuan Group recorded peak metamorphic conditions of 5.6–6.6 kbar and 730–770°C, reflecting granulite-facies metamorphism. Peak P–T conditions for a garnet amphibolite from the garnet zone are constrained to 580–600°C and 6–7 kbar. The amphibolite sample from the Maxianshan Group indicates peak P–T conditions of ~5.2 kbar and ~630°C. The Central Qilian block was affected by both southward subduction of the North Qilian Ocean and northward subduction of the South Qilian Ocean, which resulted in paired metamorphic belts along the northern margin of the Central Qilian block and accretion of the Hualong block to its southern margin. The subducted North Qilian oceanic slab detached and the remainder was exhumed at 453–445 Ma, accompanied by the extension and retrograde metamorphism of the overlying crust of Huangyuan Group at 457–428 Ma. Subsequent cooling of the Maxianshan Group indicates that the thermal regime relaxed during post-collisional extension at c. 409–350 Ma between the Hualong block and the Central Qilian block.