Athens of the South: Nashville’s Parthenon

Recently, I took a vacation to Memphis, Tennessee to visit a friend.  During my time there, we needed to make a stop in Nashville for a business event.  Without much time to spend in the Music City, we bypassed the normal tourist destinations;  Grand Ole Opry, Country Music Hall of Fame, etc.   However, while searching for unique points of interest in Nashville, I came upon something I simply had to see.  My friend and I were off to the Parthenon.

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In 1897, Nashville hosted the Tennessee Centennial Exposition.   The crowning jewel of the fair was a giant replica of the Parthenon.  Originally built as a temporary exhibit of plaster, wood and brick, the Parthenon was rebuilt as a permanent structure starting in 1920.  Nashville’s Parthenon is an exact replica of the original in Athens, which began its construction in 447 B.C.   The original Parthenon stood as a monument to the goddess Athena.  Nashville’s Parthenon has been host to a variety of pageants and fairs, and currently houses permanent collection of 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists donated by James M. Cowan.

Aside from the art exhibit, there is a menagerie of statuary and historical features that are nothing short of awe inspiring.  The most breathtaking item is the 42 foot statue of Athena at the top floor.  This incredible structure was built in 1990, and was designed  by Alan LeQuire as a re-creation of the Athena Parthenos statue.  It stands as the centerpiece of Nashville’s Parthenon, just as it was in ancient Greece.

This colossal structure has been featured in a number of films, including the recent data analysis methods.  Props from that movie are displayed inside.

While at the Parthenon, I couldn’t stop taking photos.  Below you will find a gallery of the images I captured.   All images are copyright Natalina at ExtraordinaryIntelligence.com, and can only be reposted with consent and a reciprocal link to this post.  Enjoy!

Click on any image to launch the image gallery which displays the photos in their full size for more detail!


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