At the heart of Peking University is the Yanyuan Garden, a collection of gardens including the Shuchun Garden, Shaoyuan Garden, Langrun Garden, Jingchun Garden, Minghe Garden, Weixiu Garden, Changchun Garden, Chengze Garden, and many others. On special occasions, the brilliant lights of Boya Pagoda illuminate these glorious imperial gardens from the Qing and Ming dynasties which haven't lost their charm even hundreds of years on.
The northern edge of the campus borders Yuanmingyuan Park, while the Summer Palace sits to the west. Peking University pays homage to its historical grounds through preservation of the breathtaking environment on which it sits, drawing on the grandeur of the imperial gardens and the beauty of regions south of the Yangtze River. The traditional architecture of scattered pavilions and terraces is complemented by a landscape of water-enveloped hills and adjoining lakes, throughout which islands interweave to form a charming scene. The campus is adorned with green canopies of ancient trees, while the chirping of birds and the fragrant aroma of flowers permeate the air. Each step in the gardens reveals a vicissitude of beauty. An elegant environment complements shades of natural beauty, which accents the charm of the rich humanistic campus culture.
The marriage of the Weiming Lake and the Boya Pagoda is one of Peking University's iconic sights. Alongside the silhouettes of academic greats, the tower's reflection shimmers on the lake's surface to form one of the most picturesque scenes in the Yanyuan Garden, so widely celebrated that the scene visible from the banks of the Weiming Lake is commonly known simply as “The Tower and the Lake”.