Hail to Heritage: Nationality Rooms Offer Holiday Tours

The Cathedral of Learning’s 27 functional classrooms, rich in heritage, are adorned in traditional holiday decor through Jan. 15.

Where can you visit 27 countries in one day?The University of Pittsburgh.

Nestled inside the towering 42-story Cathedral of Learning—the world’s second tallest university building—sit small rooms, rich in heritage, each architecturally designed and decorated in the style of the country it represents.

Especially beautiful during the holidays, theNationality Rooms are bedecked in holiday décor through Jan. 15, 2012.

So why not take a tour?

On the weekends—through Jan. 14—narrated tape tours are available, without prior reservation, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays and from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. The last tape tour is dispatched at 2:30 p.m.

Guided holiday tours are available from 10 a.m. daily, with the exception of university closures on Jan. 1.

"Holiday tours are first-come, first-served," said a university tour guide who's toured locals through the rooms since 2006. "If you have a large group, come as soon as you can."

Entry for adults is $3; people ages 8 to 18 is $1; and children younger than 8 enter for free.

"It's hard to choose a favorite room," she said. "Each room offers something little and different that I like. 

When asked if she encounters many out-of-towners, she said: 

"It's about 50/50—we do get a lot of locals, but a lot of tourists, too."

Although holiday décor is removed Jan. 15, starting Jan. 21 you can enjoy a weekend tape tour. Reservations for guided tours are accepted for groups of 10 or more.

For more information or an e-tour, visit the Nationality Rooms’ website.


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