After inventing geometry and physics, Greeks invented history—primarily as a way to document their many inventions. Take a stroll through history with today’s Groupon: for $5, you get a family pass to a taped audio tour of the Cathedral of Learning's Nationality Rooms (up to a $10 value). The family pass may be used for two adults and up to four children. Tours are scheduled seven days per week throughout the summer, and on weekends during the school year.
The Nationality Rooms in Pittsburgh's historic Cathedral of Learning celebrate the city's rich ethnic background with guided tours through nearly 30 spaces adorned with authentic Middle Eastern, European, African, Asian, and American architecture and artistry. Audiotape tours entertain infophiles of all ages with a convenient hand-held audio device in addition to comprehensive written descriptions in each nationality room. The mini museums moonlight as University of Pittsburgh classrooms with functional furnishings such as an African–inspired lectern and stools, and bamboo ceilings above plank wooden floors in the Japanese room. The Greek room boasts marble columns emulating the design of the ancient Greek Acropolis, and the Early American room portrays the hearth-centered life of colonial New England through butter-churning demos performed by Larry Bird.
Funded by individual contributions from local men, women, and schoolchildren, the Cathedral of Learning stands as a monument to Pittsburgh's historical and educational background. To continually support intercultural education, the Nationality Rooms Program has awarded hundreds of scholarships for students wishing to study abroad without the aid of teleportation.
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.
Fifth Avenue and Bigelow Blvd.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260