Why Nashville has a replica of the Greek Parthenon

Tennessee 225

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nashville’s Parthenon was never meant to be a permanent structure. So, why is it here?

The Tennessee State Library and Archives has several materials documenting the historical landmark located in Centennial Park.

When it was first built, it was made of temporary material, like the other dozens of structures that were built for the Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition in 1897.

The exposition was held to celebrate Tennessee’s 100 years of statehood. It commemorated our state’s achievements showing the world its commerce, agriculture, history, art and more.

The event kicked off a year late, and it lasted six months. An estimated 1.8 million visitors visited the festival. The majority of the other buildings at the expo were moved or destroyed. Only the Parthenon remained.

  • Nashville Parthenon
  • Nashville Parthenon Statues
  • Nashville Parthenon 1897
  • Nashville Parthenon 1897
  • Nashville Parthenon at night
  • Nashville Parthenon 1897
  • The Parthenon
  • Vanderbilt Statue outside Parthenon
  • Parthenon with Visitors
  • Nashville Parthenon
  • Parthenon Statue
  • Parthenon Statue
  • Parthenon Statue
  • Parthenon Statue
  • Tennessee Centennial Expo
  • General View Parthenon

The original Parthenon was built in 447 BC as a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena in Athens, Greece.

Nashville was already known as “Athens of the South” because of its focus on higher education. So, many did not want to see the building torn down. However, the material was deteriorating.

In 1920, the city made the decision to tear it down and rebuild it from lasting materials. It reopened as a museum for the public in 1931.

Facts about Nashville’s Parthenon

  • The world’s only exact replica including size and detail of the Greek temple
  • The Parthenon built for the Centennial Expo was not a replica
  • The 42-foot great replica statue of Athena was added in 1990
  • The $12 million restoration of the Parthenon was unveiled in 2001
  • The Athens Parthenon took about 10 years to build, while the permanent Nashville Parthenon also took about 10 years to build

Tennessee 225: Dive into the history of the Volunteer State.

You can tour the Parthenon seven days a week. Hours very depending on the day. For museum members the entry fee is free. $10 entry fee for adults. $8 entry fee for students. Ages 4 and under get in free.

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