In celebration of Tsinghua University’s upcoming 110th anniversary, we have put together a special weekly video series “Tsinghua Landmarks” for you to revisit the University’s rich history through fascinating stories behind famous Tsinghua landmarks.
This week, we bring you the story of the Old Gate. Let’s explore the campus, review its history, and experience the spirit of Tsinghua.
Arguably the most symbolic landmark of Tsinghua University, the Old Gate coalesced the lives, destinies, and emotions of all Tsinghua people, for more than a century. Located on Tsinghua Road, the east-west artery of the University, this immaculate “paifeng” arched architecture witnesses the daily commute of thousands of students, faculty and staff members.
The Old Gate was built in 1909 as the entrance to Tsinghua Xuetang, the university’s predecessor. The glamorous characters “Tsinghua Garden” were inscribed above the main arch by Qing dynasty official Natong. Back then, the gate strictly guarded Tsinghua, prohibiting unauthorized access by outsiders.
As the campus expanded with time, the walls beside the Old Gate were dismantled to allow for increased traffic—the Old Gate was no more a gate, it became a popular landmark where all incoming freshmen felt “obligated” to take a photo at.
In 1991, the Old Gate was restored with support from Tsinghua alumni all over the globe. Restored to its former glory, the Old Gate continued to draw crowds after restoration.
Through trials and tribulations, the Old Gate stands not only as a witness to Tsinghua’s rich history, but more so as a testament to the long-standing Tsinghua virtues of diligence, pragmatism, and unrelenting determination.
Photographer: Li Pai
Writer: Mike Qian
Editors: Liu Shutian, Sangeet Sangroula