What’s the deal with Nashville’s perfect replica of the Parthenon?

by Christy Ulmet


Getty Images/iStockphoto

Nashville is very proud to be known the “Athens of the South,” a fact that at least partially explains rather unexpected full-scale replica of The Parthenon in the city’s West End neighborhood. 

Originally built as a temporary structure to house the art museum for the 1897 Tennessee Centennial Exhibition, the Parthenon stands today as a reminder of Nashville’s history. It is the keystone feature of the city’s 132-acre Centennial Park.

Inside, there’s a little something for everybody: a 42-foot tall statue of the Greek goddess Athena stands in the main room, while a permanent art exhibit with 63 paintings and temporary exhibits sit just beneath it.

Even Nashville natives (who have probably been to the Parthenon once a year since kindergarten), don’t know that the Athena statue was over six decades in the making. Donations were being collected more than 60 years before the statue fully completed in 1990.

Locals and visitors visit the park 365 days a year to enjoy a bit of the outdoors in the heart of the city—and retreat to the museum when the mercury climbs. The structure is frequently used as the backdrop for engagement, wedding, and prom photo shoots, too.

The Parthenon is open year-round Tuesday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tickets start at $4.

This article originally appeared on Travel+Leisure’s Nashville Travel Guide. Property of Time, Inc.

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