The Palestra, often called the Cathedral of College Basketball, is a historic arena and the home gym of the University of Pennsylvania Quakers men's and women's basketball teams, volleyball teams, wrestling team, and Philadelphia Big 5 basketball. Located at 215 South 33rd St. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the campus of the University Of Pennsylvania, near Franklin Field in the University City section of Philadelphia, it opened on January 1, 1927. The arena originally seated about 10,000, but now seats 8,722 for basketball. The Palestra is famed for its close-to-the-court seating with the bleachers ending at the floor with no barrier to separate the fans from the game.
At the time of its construction, the Palestra was one of the largest arenas in the World. It was one of the first modern steel-and-concrete arenas in the United States and also one of the first to be constructed without interior pillars blocking the view.
In 2000, a $2-million renovation to the gym added a museum celebrating the history of Philadelphia basketball in the building's main concourse. Near the main entrance to the gym is a section recognizing the St. Joseph's acclaimed Hawk mascot who made its first appearance at the Palestra on Jan. 4, 1956. At the other end of the concourse, by the ramp to sections 211 and 210, a scoreboard lists the all-time record of the Penn-Princeton rivalry. Each decade from the 1950s on has its own exhibit in the concourse. The 1970s section, "A Decade of Prominence," celebrates the Final Four runs by Villanova (1971) and Penn (1979).