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“Completely Unique”

The Nationality Rooms
Ranked #18 of 180 things to do in Pittsburgh
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed May 3, 2013

My husband actually taught in a few of these rooms while we lived in Pittsburgh and this was definitely among my favorite things to show off when friends and family came to visit. The cathedral itself is an impressive piece of Gothic architecture and wandering the halls has it's own charms (in the winter, they light the giant fire places and there is no better place to enjoy a hot chocolate). The Nationality Rooms line the perimeter of the first and third floor, most of the newer ones being on the third. I won't get into the history of the rooms, as this information is easily attainable. Instead, I'll say that this is the kind of thing you can spend as much, or as little time as you'd like exploring. And it's definitely not something you will see anywhere else. Very cool.

Thank Joanna M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 28, 2013

The Cathedral of Learning is a beautiful space, and the Nationality Rooms are very interesting. For $4, we got an audio tour device and key to enter any of the rooms we liked. From Lithuania to Sweden, the rooms were interesting to see and hear about on the self-guided tour. This was a great way to spend an hour on a chilly/rainy day.

3  Thank allygirl_05
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2013

The nationality rooms are certainly unusual: a bunch of rooms, each dedicated to reflect a specific nationality or region, that also serve as classrooms on the Pitt campus.

That sounds pretty cool--and it is for awhile--but eventually you're worn down by it all. To fully experience the rooms, at least on the first floor, you have to pay a modest admission fee. But if there's several of you (we were a group of four) you're only given *one* audio player. And the speaker on our player was dreadfully low in volume, even when cranked up to its highest setting. Worse, if there are multiple parties in the room each of you are playing the recordings on your own, so there's all this overlapping volume. Moreover, to enter each room, your given a master key, which sometimes cooperates with the door lock and sometimes it doesn't.

The rooms also extend to the third floor, where, inexplicably, the rooms are UNlocked and the recordings part of the room itself...you flip a switch as you enter the room, and boom, out comes the sound. At least here you have one recording being played, and the volume is quite audible. BUT, again inexplicably, the third floor recordings are really looooooonnnnnnnggggggg. We exited several rooms well before the audio was finished.

So, in short, it's something to do that's quirky and unique. But, if you plan on doing the entire audio tour plan on up to three hours. So be sure to feed the street parking meters with at least that much time before you enter. But after awhile, you'll find yourself trying to remember which rooms you've seen, which ones you haven't, and how much stamina you have left.

Note, too, that it would appear that our audio player wasn't the only one with difficulties. As we checked ours out we heard the gift shop attendant inform the next customer that their player had a faulty key. Maybe it's time to upgrade the first floor rooms, audio-wise, too.

1  Thank MongoSchwartz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

We were a group of teachers in town for a workshop, and the time we spent in the Cathedral of Learning was a highlight of our trip. We were fortunate enough to have a university staff member as our guide, and you probably won't be as lucky (;->), but it is eye opening to see how classes are conducted in other countries. These rooms have been carefully reconstructed to show authentic practices and illustrate the history of international pedagogy. Take the time to sit in the seats and imagine.

2  Thank MUfoodie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

I was in awe of the fact that these rooms are used for classes at the University. What a treat it would be to be a student in one of these classrooms! They are absolutely beautiful. The ones on the first floor seem to be more authentic. We were able to find onstreet parking and only paid for two hours. You need at least three hours to properly visit these classrooms and just enjoy the Cathedral of Learning. This is high on my list of recommended "must dos" in Pittsburgh!

1  Thank EthelSue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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