Our World: Nashville’s Parthenon

The Parthenon in Centennial Park, Nashville, as seen from Lake Watauga. (Photo by Betsy)

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them.)

This is my post for the Our World meme.  This meme is a second generation of My World Tuesday created by Klaus Peter and is hosted by five wonderful ladies.  To learn more about our world or to join and share your part of the world, click HERE.

The centerpiece of Nashville’s Centennial Park is an exact replica of the Parthenon of ancient Greece.

The northeast corner of the Parthenon in Centennial Park.

In 1895 Tennessee wanted to find a way to celebrate the centennial of its statehood (which would occur in 1896), and they decided on a centennial exposition to be held in Nashville.  At that time Nashville was known as the Athens of the South, so an exact replica of the Parthenon in Athens would be the pinnacle of the Grand Exposition.  The Parthenon was the first building put up for the exposition and it set the theme for the 36 other buildings that were constructed.

Since only a year was allowed for putting the Exposition together, all of the buildings were constructed using materials that would survive only through the Exposition.

Moving toward the eastern side of the Parthenon.

Because of bureaucratic red tape, the Grand Centennial Exposition didn’t open until 1897, one year after the statehood celebration.  Even with the delayed opening the Centennial Celebration was a huge success, with over 1.8 million visitors over a 6-month period.  Within two years of the close of the Centennial Exposition only three buildings remained, including the Parthenon.

The east side of the Parthenon. Notice the intricate reliefs of the pediment above the columns.

The ‘temporary’ Parthenon lasted for 23 years.  In 1920, because of the popularity of the Parthenon, the city of Nashville began an eleven-year project of replacing the temporary materials with permanent materials.  This reconstructed building is the one that stands today.

The Parthenon as seen from the southeast corner.

Nashville’s Parthenon in the only full-sized replica in the world.  The 7-ton bronze doors are the largest in the world, and the statue of Athena is the largest indoor statue  in the western hemisphere.  The pediment reliefs on the east and west sides of the Parthenon were created by direct casts of the originals, which are now in the British Museum of Art.

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22 Responses to “Our World: Nashville’s Parthenon”

  1. Ms. A Says:

    1.8 million people in 1897… wow, I bet some of them had to make a long trip to get there! This place is beautiful!

  2. Maple Lane Says:

    Very interesting.

  3. Red Nomad OZ (@RedNomadOZ) Says:

    Wow! That’s impressive – I like how long the temporary version lasted before it was made permanent!!! But I wonder how it compares to the real thing??

  4. Linda G. Says:

    Very nice-looking building

  5. MadSnapper Says:

    this is really interesting, i did not know it was there. very impressive.

  6. The Incredible Woody Says:

    I had no idea why Nashville built the Parthenon! Very interesting!

  7. Sylvia Kirkwood Says:

    What an impressive and beautiful building and having seen the original in Athens I am amazed at how superbly the builders have matched it! I would love to visit this one! Wonderful post and photos for the day, George and Betsy!! Hope you have a good week!

  8. Andrea Says:

    Oh it really is a Parthenon, just looking new! Maybe i should just see it there, as maybe it is easier for me to reach than Greece!

  9. Karin Says:

    Thanks for sharing these great photos of such an impressive place. I’ll probably never get to see the original or the replica! Nice to see yours here!!

  10. Larry Says:

    Sure is an impressive structure.

  11. Łucja-Maria Says:

    I welcome you very warmly!
    I returned from vacation.
    Your photos are fantastic.
    You present a wonderful post.

  12. dayphoto Says:

    Wonderful THANKS SO MUCH!


  13. Colin (HB) Says:

    Wow, what a tribute to the state and to select the Parthenon of
    Athens as the showpiece! Did you get photos of the interior?
    They would be most interesting to view.
    I think the original in Athens is in some state of disrepair. Such a
    Did/Does Nashville have a large Greek/American population?
    Melbourne here in Victoria, is supposed to be the ” second largest”
    Greek/Australian populated city in the World!
    Nashville certainly has got a lot going for it. I wonder what the number of overseas visitors the city gets on a yearly basis?
    And to think that I stayed on a number of occasions in Atlanta!
    Just either a bus trip or a communter flight away to have visited.
    Oh dear, and opportunity missed and now regretted!
    Colin (Brisbane.Australia)

  14. RedneckRosarian Says:

    Having grown up in Nashville I have spent many a days sitting on the steps of Parthenon first with my Mom & Dad, then with my girl who became my wife. We used to love to feed the ducks in the pond there… Great post.. Wonderful memories…….

  15. l'Angevine Says:

    magnifique ce panthéon devant ce lac et les frondaisons du premier cliché

  16. ZielonaMila Says:

    Beautiful and interesting building, nice photographs. I am greeting

  17. diane Says:

    That’s amazing, a full size replica. At first i thought it was small like some others that I have seen in gardens. It must be an impressive sight.

  18. Rajesh Says:

    Wonderful place with such marvelous architecture.

  19. busy bee suz Says:

    I am so impressed with this; I’ve never heard of it before.
    Thanks for the lovely views and the history lesson.

  20. ladyfi Says:

    How gorgeous and so interesting.

  21. Wario Says:

    Wow – Never knew that they had an exact replica in Nashville!! I’ve always wanted to see the original, but was wondering how it would be to have seen it all intact, and now I can!! Thanks for this post – stumbled upon it by looking for images of the original Parthenon.

  22. Brittany Grooters Says:

    Hello! I work for a production company in Holland, MI. We are currently producing a historical documentary that includes some content on the Parthenon and we would love to use one of your photos in the final cut. Would you be so kind as to contact me back to further the discussion about photo ownership and permissions? I do appreciate your time!

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