The 29 Nationality Rooms in Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning represent the cultures of various ethnic peoples that settled in Allegheny County and are supported by those cultural groups and governments. Designated collectively as a Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation historical landmark, the rooms are located on the first and third floors of the Cathedral, itself a national historic landmark.
Of the 29 rooms, 27 are functional classrooms and two (the Early American and Syria-Lebanon rooms) are display rooms that can be visited only during guided tours. Nearly 30,000 visitors a year tour the Nationality Rooms, which are available daily for public tours when not being used for classes or other University functions. (Taped and written materials for self-guided tours are available at the Nationality Rooms Information Desk on the first floor, near the Fifth Avenue entrance.)
The first four rooms to be dedicated were the Scottish, Russian, German, and Swedish Rooms, in 1938. The newest are the Swiss and Turkish rooms, both dedicated in 2012.
Design of the classrooms often involves native artists and imported artifacts and materials. For example, the Tudor-Gothic-style English Classroom, the largest of the Nationality Classrooms, contains relics from the British House of Commons that was destroyed by Luftwaffe bombing in 1941.