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Cathedral of Learning's Nationality Rooms
When Dr. John Gabbert Bowman became chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh after World War I, he had a vision of a monument to education. So he built it, creating an astonishingly detailed work of architectural art that was also a fully usable addition to the growing university's classroom space.
The Cathedral of Learning didn't just honor the university—it was a tribute to the city itself. More than two dozen rooms serve as portals into a golden era of the history and heritage of nations ranging from Yugoslavia to Africa's Asante kingdom. And the collection is still expanding.
The Europe-centric first floor boasts the oldest rooms. Modeled on a Romanian Orthodox monastery, the Romanian Room is equipped with hand-carved chairs and an Orthodox iconostasis, while the stone arches and column bas reliefs of the Irish room symbolize the Gaelic oratories of the 12th century. On the third floor, visitors find the Indian room, boasting dramatic arena seating and a colorful watercolor triptych, and the baroque style of the Ukrainian classroom, with vividly carved wood and colorful ceramics traditionally designed to test the willpower of rowdy young students.