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The Parthenon is an iconic attraction in Athens, Greece, right? Yes and no! Believe it or not, the only full-size replica of the Parthenon in the world is located in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee. Find out why this is one of the can’t miss hidden gems in the Music City!
Why does Nashville have a Parthenon?
I know the Parthenon is the most random thing you could ever imagine in the middle of Nashville. So, why is it there?
Back in the 1800’s, before Nashville was the Music City, it was known as the “Athens of the South.” So, as part of the celebration of 100 years of statehood, in 1897, Nashville built a temporary version of the Parthenon. It was so popular that they decided to leave it after the celebration was over.
However, the building soon began to deteriorate because it was made of plaster. In order to save it, the city made the decision to rebuild it with more permanent materials. This rebuild began in 1921 and was completed in 1931.
Nashville’s version is a historically accurate replica of the original, both inside and out. In fact, it is such an accurate reproduction that it is being used as a reference point now for the restoration of the original in Athens.
Why the Parthenon is a can’t miss experience
There are several reasons why you have to visit the Parthenon on your trip to Nashville.
First of all, it is one of the most unique and random things to see anywhere in the United States. It is the only place to experience such an ancient and iconic piece of world history without a passport!
Secondly, you should take the time to visit because it is such an impressive piece of architecture. And the fact that it is a true copy of the original is mind-blowing.
Don’t just stop by to admire the outside of the building. Go inside and explore the interior of the building as well. On the second floor, you will find what I consider to be the best part of the entire experience: a clone of the 42 foot tall statue of Athena, in all her golden glory!
Athena was added to the Parthenon in 1982 after funds were raised to create her. She commands the attention of everyone entering the room in which she resides. She is massive, imposing, and quite simply extraordinary.
You can also enjoy admiring the art on display in the galleries on the first floor of the building. And after your visit, you can enjoy the rest of Centennial Park, which is home to the Parthenon.
Lastly, this is a great opportunity to show your kids a little slice of history that they might otherwise only get to see in books.
What you need to know before visiting
The Nashville Parthenon sits in the middle of Centennial Park. This park is located near the campus of Vanderbilt University. You will find it at 2500 West End Avenue.
The Parthenon is open seven days a week, but is closed on most major holidays. The hours of operation are 9:00 am-7:00 pm on Mondays through Thursdays, 9:00 am-4:30 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and 12:30 pm-4:30 pm on Sundays.
Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for kids age 4-17 and seniors age 62 and older. Children under the age of 4 are free. They offer discounts for educators, members of the military, and college students. You will just need to show your ID in order to get the discount.
Unlike many attractions these days, you can only buy tickets to the Parthenon onsite at the Ticket Counter or in the Museum Shop.
You can find a variety of visitor guides on the Parthenon’s website.
Nashville’s Parthenon is one of the most unique attractions anywhere in the United States. And it is a can’t miss hidden gem in the Music City. It is one of my most favorite things about Nashville. I highly recommend it! It is an experience you will never forget!
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