Enjoy the Nationality Rooms’ Holiday Splendor

The Scottish Nationality Room in the Cathedral of LearningWhile students, faculty and staff take a pause for the holidays, the Nationality Rooms at the University of Pittsburgh are open for business, with festive spirit.

A seasonal tradition that’s lasted nearly 30 years, the Nationality Rooms inside the Cathedral of Learning are decorated each holiday season to reflect the customs of their respective cultures.

Guests are invited to travel through each of the 31 rooms with Pitt tour guides and learn festive facts, such as which culture first adopted the Christmas tree tradition, which of the 31 rooms have fireplaces and whose folklore says baking a coin into a loaf of holiday bread signals good luck.

First-come, first-served guided tours are available Dec. 26-31 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tickets are sold at the information counter on the first floor of the Cathedral of Learning ($4 for adults; $2 for kids ages 6-18). No reservations are accepted. There are no tours Dec. 24-25, 2019, or Jan. 1, 2020. The decorations will be taken down the weekend of Jan. 18.

Can’t make it in person this season? View a Facebook gallery showcasing details and information about each of the rooms.

About the rooms

Established in 1926 by then-Chancellor John Bowman, Pitt’s Nationality Rooms are representative of and pay tribute to the cultural groups that settled Allegheny County. In June 2019, the dedication of the Philippine Room marked the 31st Nationality Room at the University. The rooms are located on the first and third floors of the Cathedral of Learning and most are used as functioning classrooms. Pitt’s Nationality Rooms are maintained and supported through a partnership between the local populations of these cultural groups and the University of Pittsburgh.