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Anniversary Special | PKU then and now
May 04, 2022
Peking University, May 4, 2022: On May 4, 2022, Peking University welcomes its 124th anniversary. Ever wondered what PKU looked like decades ago? Come on a trip with us as we delve into PKU's past in this anniversary special!

01 Peking University East Gate


East Gate of PKU(before)


East Gate of PKU(now)




Sunset from perspective of the East Gate of PKU

Many enter PKU through the iconic East Gate. The East Gate of PKU is one of the busiest gates, getting heavy foot traffic from students and tourists alike. The Peking University East Gate subway station is located nearby, making the gate a popular entrance to PKU. The new East Gate was finished in December 2019, with a design that gets inspiration from ancient buildings in Yuanmingyuan Park, and the South and North Pavilion located on campus. At the same time, the wrought iron arches are a homage to the old Red Building of PKU located in Dongcheng District.

02 Lijiao Building (Natural Science Classroom Building)




Lijiao Building(before)






Lijiao Building(now)

All PKUers today will have attended classes at the Lijiao Building at least once. The two-storied Lijiao Building was built and put into use in 2000 and upgraded to four stories in 2011. Now, it is one of the biggest teaching buildings on campus, with classrooms that can hold over 400 students! A modern multi-functional teaching building with ample space and advanced facilities, it has become the main venue in which General Education courses are held, and carries many memories of PKUers in the new century.

03 Peking University Hall






PKU Hall(before)

Built during PKU's centennial celebration in 1998, PKU Hall's predecessor was the Mass Dining Hall (大饭厅) of the 50s, where the campus community congregated to see opera, orchestras, and movies shown on a small wooden platform. According to a recollection,"In the winter, movies were shown in the dining hall, with a ticket price as low as five cents. If you didn’t bring stools, you could sit on the floor…"








PKU Hall(now)

In the 1980s, the hall was refurbished as a theatre, and in the 1990s, the PKU Hall we know today was born. Though having undergone a massive transformation, PKU Hall continues to carry the laughter, tears, and show-going memories of PKUers across generations.

04 School Library




School Library(before)






School Library(now)

In 1918, the library of Yenching Academy moved into the first floor of the Red Building, forming the base of the early activities of the Communist Party of China. In 1952, PKU library was officially built on the Yanyuan campus, affirming the importance of knowledge. The charming old building embraced the tide of the times with a modern look in 1975, and in 1998, at the turn of PKU’s centennial celebration, the current library building was finished. With its vast collection of books,  the library became the largest one in Asia, and was recognized as one of the first "20th-Century Chinese Architectural Heritage". Amid changing times, the library continues to be the spiritual haven of PKUers old and new, and embraces all with an open mind.

05 Jiayuan Canteen




Jiayuan Canteen(before)

Ever heard of PKU's "Central Business District"? Jiayuan Canteen, which opened in 2020, is a spiritual successor to Campus (康博思), a once popular campus dining area. In 1999, the old Jiayuan Canteen was built on the south side of the old Xue San Canteen and was the first to introduce evening snack services. In 2002, Xue San Canteen was merged into the Campus area, which featured a Noodle restaurant and a Chinese and Western fast-food street. A PKUer who entered in 2001 fondly recalls,"The first canteen I went to in my freshman year was Xue San… I ate my first meal with my parents, and as a southerner, I was surprised that there was no soup in the canteen. Many seniors nibbled on watermelon or ate with Coke, and my mother lamented that it's so hard to be a student."








Jiayuan Canteen(now)

Today, Jiayuan Canteen stands as the largest cafeteria in PKU, bringing together both the iconic dishes of the old canteens and new innovative cuisines. It is not just a dining area, but also a multi-functional area for teachers and students to chat, chill, and work.

06 Peking University South Gate


South Gate of PKU(before)


South Gate of PKU(now)

The South Gate was built in 1953 when PKU started to expand the campus and build new dormitories in the south of campus. After 2000, some of the old dormitories near the South Gate were demolished to make way for new buildings, including the School of Journalism and Communication. Now, after 70 years, you can still see the hustle and bustle of campus life around the South Gate as it is the gate nearest to the student dormitories. Especially important to the students is Brother Jie's fried noodles (杰哥炒面), a mobile food cart that frequents the South Gate often to offer steaming hot stir-fried delicacies late into the night!

07 PKU Bookstore


PKU Bookstore(before)




PKU Bookstore(now)

The predecessor of PKU Bookstore was the Peking University Press Readers' Services Department, established in 1997. Back then, it was a modest but homely store that didn't really catch the eye and was located beside PKU’s very own Subway store! Since it moved and underwent reconstruction in 2018, the bookstore has returned stronger and better! Now located in the basement of the New Sun Student Center, on top of its sleek and modern interior, the bookstore is also equipped with reading areas and often offers discounts to PKU students, teachers, and alumni, making it the go-to spot for students to purchase textbooks for their courses.

08 B1, Dormitory No. 29


Dorm No. 29(before)

Built in 1956, Dorm No. 29 occupies a special place in the hearts of PKUers across generations. Wen Rumin, who later became the head of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, once recalled that in 1978, he lived in Room 203, where “the newly painted dormitory smelled strongly of paint, was more than ten square meters, with four people to a room. It was very crowded, but our hearts were so full”.

“ When it was announced the dormitory was to be rebuilt in 2014, many were reluctant to part with the memories it had held.”




Dorm No. 29(now)

Now, however, the basement level of Dorm No. 29 is highly popular amongst students for its facilities. After the rebuilding, you can now find a fruit grocer, florist, tailor, photography studio, convenience stores and photocopiers there! One of the more popular places amongst students is the Family Mart convenience store, which offers a wide selection of food and beverages, is open 24 hours a day, and has a study area with free Wi-Fi (which convenience stores outside campus don’t offer)! On the PKU campus, you can often see students frequenting the mart for a late-night snack with their friends.

While the sights and sounds in PKU have changed, the memories that PKUers have made in these iconic landmarks will be forever imprinted in their youths. As PKU continues to evolve in the tides of time, new memories can be made within the evergreen campus.

Writted by: Han Tianran, Chan Zi Qing, Li Wanqi
Edited by: Li Wanqi, Hu Shaocong
Photo credited to: Wang Bo, Pu Hairui, Huang Zhe, Ren Xiang
Designed by: Vissly Chan, Guo Xinxing
Executive Editor: Guo Yasong
Source(s): PKU Wechat Account, PKU BBS, PKU Hole, PKU Youth Wechat Account, PKU Bookstore Wechat Account, PKU Communist Youth League Committee Wechat Account, Meipian, Tencent News, Zi Jia You, NetEase, The Paper, PKU Yanyuan, pkujcp
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