Perhaps Nashville's strangest attraction is its full-sized Parthenon replica. It was built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. Today it is an art museum and the centerpiece of Centennial Park and is located just west of downtown Nashville. See here for 10 things to know while in Nashville, Tennessee.
The structure and its sculptures have been built in an attempt to make it just as the original Parthenon would have been in ancient Greece. Although it is not made of the same materials with the Parthenon Marbles being plaster replicas etc. it is perfect for seeing how that great Greek temple once stood.
The Orginal Parthenon And "This Is Sparta!"
The Parthenon is situated on the Athenian Acropolis and was dedicated to the goddess Athena. Construction started in 447 BC and was completed in 438 BC (with decoration continuing for another 6 years). See here for 10 amazing facts you didn't know about the Parthenon in Athens.
The Athenians built it when they were at the height of their Athenian Empire (which eventually succumbed to Sparta - because don't cross the Spartans!). Today it is the most important of the surviving buildings of Classical Greece and is considered a symbol of Ancient Greece, democracy, and even Western civilization in general being one of the world's greatest cultural monuments.
In a way, the epic 2007 movie 300 (that defies description) is related to the building of the Parthenon. The movie is about the romanticized telling of angry Spartans fighting the Persians at Thermopathea. This is based on real historical events and the Battle of Thermopylae actually did happen. While the Battle of Thermopylae was (actually) a devastating defeat for the Greeks and Athens was captured after the battle, the Greeks ultimately won the war. In celebration, the Parthenon was built to thank the gods for the victory.
- Fun Fact: The Battle Of Thermopylae Was Fought With Around 7,000 Greeks, The 300 Spartans and 700 Thespians Fought A Rear-guard Action To Allow The Main Army To Escape
- Numbers: Popular Numbers 700 Spartans & Thebans Vs 1 Million Persians, Likely Numbers, 7,000 Greeks vs 100,000 Persians
- Older Parthenon: The Temple Predecessor Was The Older Parthenon (Demolished by The Persians)
- Treasury: As With Many Temples In The Ancient World, The Temple Served As A Treasury
- Church: In The 6th Century AD It Was Rededicated As A Christian Church
- Mosque: After Ottoman Conquest, It Was Turned Into A Mosque
- Partial Destruction: In 1687 An Ottoman Ammunition Dump Blew Up and Severely Damaged the Ancient Temple
As one of Nashville's most iconic landmarks, it is a must-see attraction. It features full-scale replicas of the original statues and more. The focus of the Parthenon's interior is a 42-foot statue of Athena. One can gaze in wonder at the plaster replicas of the Parthenon Marbles (if one would like to see the fragments of the originals, they are in the British Museum in London).
As Nashville's art museum it hosts a permanent collection of 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists. Then there are additional gallery spaces for other interesting temporary shows and exhibits.
While the original Parthenon was made of Pentelic marble and took around 10 years to build, the Nashville Parthenon replica is made from brick, stone, reinforced concrete, and cast concrete. It also took 10 years for the Nashville Parthenon to be built.
- Height: 65 Feet At its Apex
- Built: 1921 to 1931
- Doric Columns: 17 On Each Side, 6 On Each End - 46 Doric Columns in Total
- Interior: Divided Into Two Rooms
- East Room: Called Naos And Hosts The Statue of Athena
- West Room: Called The Treasury, In Classical Times It Housed The Treasure Of The Delian League
Visiting The Nashville Parthenon
- Adults: $10.00
- Students: $8.00 (Aged 4 to 17)
- Seniors: $8.00 (Aged 62 And Over)
- Infants: $0.00 Under 4 Years Old
- Members: Free
While here, one might want to join a guided tour of the Parthenon. Guided tours are for groups of ten or more and are by reservation only. Note that school groups are not allowed into the Parthenon without a guide. Guided tours are a great way to really understand the magnificent building's many stories and rich history. For more information and reservations see their official website.
There are numerous events and programs being held here. These include daily, weekly, monthly, and public programs - see their website for what's on.
The Parthenon is one of the oldest standing structures in the world - being around 2,500 years old. But there is ancient and there is really ancient, the Great Pyramid of Giza was already an ancient ruin by the time the Parthenon was built having been standing for 2,000 years. See here for why to visit the ancient 4,500-year-old Great Pyramid of Giza.