The American Parthenon: A Nashville Wonder

January 17, 2020

Home to the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville is most famous for its music scene. However, Nashville is also referred to as the “Athens of the South” due to its high concentration of higher education institutions, classical and neoclassical architecture, but mostly because of its full-scale replica of the Parthenon.

Where Did the Nashville Parthenon Come From?

The Parthenon in Nashville's Centennial Park

In 1897, Tennessee decided to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its statehood by having an exposition in Centennial Park. The state built over a hundred buildings for the event, but the Parthenon is the only one that remains today. Inspired by their reputation as the Athens of the South, the director of the exposition ordered a full-scale replica of the Parthenon of Athens built as the centerpiece for the event. Originally intended to be temporary, the structure was built with plaster and wood. In 1920, after suffering weather damage, the structure was rebuilt using concrete.

The Current Use of the Parthenon

Prior to the conversion into a permanent structure, the Parthenon was used for pageants and elaborately staged plays of ancient mythology. Once the rebuild was complete, the Parthenon became and currently remains Nashville’s art museum. While the museum houses paintings from 19th and 20th-century American artists, they are most known for the 42-foot replica of Athena Parthenos statue from the original Parthenon.

Unchanged from over a century ago, summer productions of classic Greek plays are performed with the Parthenon and the Nashville skyline in the backdrop. It’s even been used as a backdrop for movies and television shows.

With a wealth of culture, history, and beautiful attractions, Nashville is a wonderful city full of opportunity. If you are looking to live in the Nashville area, contact our agents at HND Realty to see available properties.

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