June 27, 2016

Wowed by the Nationality Rooms at Pitt's Cathedral of Learning

The centerpiece of the University of Pittsburgh is no doubt The Cathedral of Learning.
A well-known landmark, it's listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
It stands 535 feet tall and was built during the late 20s and early 30s
in the Late Gothic Revival style of architecture.
This colossal room was given to the university by Andrew Mellon.

On the first floor, students can study in the impressive Commons Room,
which covers a half acre and whose ceilings soar to 4 stories.
(Definitely reminiscent of the Main Hall in Harry's Hogwarts Castle.)

On the Cathedral's first and third floors are 30 Nationality Rooms.
Since Pittsburgh had a large population of immigrant families, 
the rooms were designed to pay homage to the various heritages 
that the students brought from their home countries.
Classes are still held in these rooms today.

My photos show just a handful of the rooms and their spectacular features.
They give only a taste of the fascinating details and craftsmanship in each one.

The chair backs in the Swiss Room represent Switzerland's 26 cantons or states.
There's a beautifully carved wood frieze all around this room.

The ceiling of the Hungarian Room features a folk motif and is the color of paprika.

A 16th century tapestry is in the French Room.

The English Room features stained glass windows with coats of arms 
honoring an English city, famous person or historic subject.

In the Turkish Room, a mural of Istanbul behind glass windows gives the impression
of an outside view, a common practice in Turkish architecture.
Notice, too, the fold-down desks that flip back seamlessly into the room's decor.

In the Czechoslovak room, an artist from Prague created this fresco
of a miracle tree having branches with a variety of leaves, fruit & flowers.

Architecture of 5th century Athens is represented as a temple in the Greek Room.

A beautiful mosaic in the Romanian Room commemorates the 
martyrdom of Prince Constantin Brancoveanu and his 4 sons, 
who refused to renounce their Christian faith and convert to Islam.

"When a guest enters the house, God enters the home." 
This proverb reflects the importance of hospitality to Ukrainians, 
and is represented in the Ukrainian Room as a home of an 18th century nobleman. 

Beautiful windows in the Polish Room feature coats of arms of Polish universities.

The formal Austrian Room highlights Austrian musical compositions such as 
Franz Gruber's "Silent Night" and Joseph Haydn's "Emperor's Song," which was 
both Austria's and Germany's national anthem for a period of time, 
and currently serves as the University of Pittsburgh's alma mater.

Wood carvings of Irish wolfhounds adorn the chairs in the Irish Room.

A beautiful floor mosaic graces the Israel Heritage Room, 
which was modeled after a Galilean home from the 1st century.

The most recently added Nationality Room is the Korean Heritage Room.
Its design was inspired by Seoul's Hall of Enlightenment in the Royal Academy.

An immense amount of information can be found
at the Nationality Rooms website.

If you're heading to Pittsburgh, I encourage you
to add this to your list of places to visit!

Would you like to read more of my Pittsburgh posts?

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