Nationality Rooms

One of my goals after moving to Pittsburgh was to visit the nationality rooms in the Cathedral of Learning at Pitt. The late gothic revival cathedral is a sight to be seen, sticking out of Oakland’s skyline at 42-stories high. It’s the tallest educational building in the Western Hemisphere, and I’ve regularly heard that athletes enjoy climbing the 36 publicly accessible floors!

I’ll be honest…I wasn’t even aware of the rooms or the Cathedral (and its physical stature) before I moved to the ‘burgh, but I’m glad I quickly learned and recently visited. At first, I was expecting to walk into one large lecture hall with representations of different countries through flags, paraphernalia, etc. WRONG. These are actually regularly used classrooms encompassing the first and third floors of the Cathedral. With 27 classrooms dating back to 1938, and 8 rooms in planning, there is plenty to see and learn!

The English classroom....largest of the bunch

The lovely view outside the English classroom

After hearing that one of the earliest completed rooms featured Hungarian history and memorabilia, I knew I had to see it for myself. Being full of Magyar blood, I felt like I was home again 🙂

my family totally owns dolls like this!

I also loved the stained glass featuring Hungarian cultural heroes.

While some of the classrooms smelled liked the last visiting students came from 1938, there were also some other highlights on my tour:

...the detailed floor and wall decorations of the Israeli Room.

...the ashram-esque beauty of the Indian Room.

...the communal feel of the African Room.

Can you believe present-day students get to experience such historical and carefully crafted rooms? It’s amazing that the University of Pittsburgh started this project over 70 years ago and that 25 of the 27 classrooms are still regularly in use!

A globe that took 5 years to complete in Krakow, Poland

Ornate ceiling in the Chinese Room.

Get your culture on!


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