The Nashville Parthenon is a full-scale reproduction of the ancient Greek temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, built in 1897 as part of a celebration of Tennessee’s 100th anniversary of statehood. If you are in Nashville, Tennessee, you don’t have to travel far to experience a replica of the Parthenon that is almost identical to the original. Today, it serves as an art museum and a cultural landmark in Centennial Park, a large public park west of downtown Nashville. We will tell you The History and Art of the Nashville Parthenon, How to Visit it, the Best Time to Visit, its opening hours and tickets, and how to enjoy a virtual tour of it online.
The History and Art of the Nashville Parthenon
The Nashville Parthenon is a replica of the ancient Greek temple dedicated to Athena, the patron goddess of Athens. It was built in 1897 for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition, a celebration of the state’s 100th anniversary of statehood.
It was also a tribute to Nashville’s nickname as the “Athens of the South”, which was given to the city for its educational and artistic excellence. The Nashville Parthenon was originally made of plaster, wood, and brick, but it was later rebuilt with concrete and permanent materials. Today, it serves as an art museum and a cultural landmark in Centennial Park.
The Nashville Parthenon is not only a faithful copy of the exterior of the original Parthenon, but also of its interior decorations and sculptures.
The most striking feature is the statue of Athena Parthenos, a re-creation of the original statue that stood in the ancient Parthenon. The statue is about 12 meters (40 feet) tall and is made of gypsum cement and fiberglass. It is painted in colors as close to the presumed original as possible and is adorned with gold leaf and jewels.
The Nashville Parthenon also houses plaster casts of the original sculptures that decorated the pediments of the ancient Parthenon. These sculptures depict scenes from Greek mythology related to Athena.
The Nashville Parthenon also features an art gallery on the lower level, which displays a permanent collection of 19th and 20th-century American paintings and temporary exhibitions of contemporary art.
How to Visit the Nashville Parthenon
The Nashville Parthenon is located in Centennial Park, at 2500 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203.
You can reach the park by car, bus, bike, or foot. There is free parking available in the park, but it may be limited during peak hours or special events.
Take bus number 3 or 5 from downtown Nashville and get off at the West End Avenue and 25th Avenue stop, which is near the park entrance. You can also bike or walk to the park using the city’s greenways and sidewalks.
Some tips and suggestions for visitors are:
- Plan your visit ahead of time and check the website for the latest information on opening hours, admission prices, exhibitions, events, and COVID-19 safety measures.
- Allow at least an hour to explore the Parthenon and its artworks. You may want to spend more time if you are interested in learning more about the history and significance of the Parthenon and its sculptures.
- Bring a camera or a smartphone to take pictures of the Parthenon and its surroundings. Photography is allowed inside and outside the Parthenon, but flash photography is not permitted inside the museum.
- Be respectful of the Parthenon and its artworks. Do not touch, lean on, or climb on any of the sculptures or displays. Do not litter or damage any of the property. Follow the instructions and directions of the staff and volunteers.
Best Time to Visit The Nashville Parthenon
The Nashville Parthenon is a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year, but your choice of season might depend on what you are looking for.
If you like warm weather and colorful flowers, you might enjoy visiting in the spring or early summer, when the temperature is around 21°C (70°F) on average. It is also the most popular time for visitors, so you might face crowds and higher costs.
If you are looking for a more peaceful and relaxing visit, you might prefer visiting in the fall or winter, when the temperature is around 10°C (50°F) on average. The park is more serene and the trees are lovely. You can also take advantage of some of the special activities and programs that the Parthenon offers, such as tours, sketching sessions, book clubs, and more.
Whenever you visit, you will be impressed by the magnificent and graceful structure of the Nashville Parthenon and the rich and intriguing culture that it reflects. It is a unique and unforgettable destination that you will love.
Opening Hours and Tickets: The Nashville Parthenon
The Nashville Parthenon is open to visitors throughout the year, except for major holidays. The opening hours are:
- Monday: 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
- Friday and Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Sunday: 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
The admission prices are:
- Adults: $10
- Seniors (62+): $8
- Children (4-17): $6
- Children (under 4): Free
The admission fee includes access to both the upper level with the statue of Athena and the pediment casts and the lower level with the art gallery.
The Nashville Parthenon also offers guided tours for groups of 10 or more people with reservations. The tours last about an hour and cover both levels of the museum. The tour prices are:
- Adults: $12
- Seniors (62+): $10
- Children (4-17): $8
- Children (under 4): Free
The tour prices include admission to both levels of the museum.
Virtual Tour of The Nashville Parthenon
If you cannot visit the Nashville Parthenon in person, you can still enjoy a virtual tour of the museum online.
The virtual tour allows you to explore the upper and lower levels of the museum with 360-degree views and zoom in on the details of the statue of Athena and the pediment casts. You can also listen to audio guides that explain the history and significance of the Parthenon and its artworks.
The virtual tour is a good option for those who cannot visit in person due to distance, time, or other constraints, or who want to learn more before or after visiting. The virtual tour is also a great way to share your experience with your friends and family who may not be able to join you.
The Nashville Parthenon is a unique and remarkable attraction that showcases the beauty and splendor of ancient Greek art and architecture. It is also a testament to the cultural heritage and identity of Nashville, which is nicknamed the “Athens of the South” for its educational and artistic institutions and its vibrant cultural scene. Whether you visit the Nashville Parthenon in person or online, you will be amazed by its accuracy and elegance.
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