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  • Writer's pictureJay Hicks

Athens or Nashville?

Cant get to Greece this year? Want to visit the most perfect Doric temple ever built? Take a spin through Nashville to see a full scale replica of the Parthenon in the "Athens of the South"!

Next time you find yourself driving through Nashville in a hurry, and with only a few minutes to spare, a great place to visit is the Parthenon in Centennial Park. Unbeknownst to most, the Parthenon is a full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Athens in a very scenic park a few blocks off Broadway, 2 miles west of downtown. Centennial park has a lake, memorials and a band shell in a setting designed for a relaxing afternoon. But if you have a few minutes, especially during the week, you’ll find ample parking in Centennial Park and at the Parthenon.

The Parthenon was the centerpiece of the 1897 Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition.

This interesting structure was developed in 1897 for the Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition. The area was landscaped, exhibits were built and the artificial Lake Watauga were created for the expo. Nashville's nickname, "Athens of the South", enabled the Parthenon to be the centerpiece of the 1897 Centennial Exposition. The lake, band shell and Parthenon represent the few remaining original architectural features from the Expo in the aptly Centennial Park.

Later, like the aftermath of many other World Fairs and Expos, temporary buildings made of plaster and other venues began to deteriorate over time. Most were removed not long after the fair was over. But the citizens of Nashville were fond of the Parthenon and chose to rebuild it with a permanent, concrete and steel structure in the 1920s. Periodic renovations occur to keep the Parthenon in great shape. Today, you can find sculpture and other art inside.

If have some time in Nashville, or should you find yourself traveling through Nashville with time only for a quick stop, do not miss this interesting architectural structure, an impressive survivor of the Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition of 1897.

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