Architecture / Greece / History / Tennessee / Travel

The Perfect Greek Temple: Right At Home In Nashville

Parthenon side

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This post was inspired by a comment and suggestion made by our new blogging buddy, Anita. She’s the creative spirit and talented singer/songwriter behind the fun, interesting and entertaining blog
Thanks to her suggestion, we visited the Parthenon in Nashville, and it was awesome. Check out her blog, and give her lovely music a listen. Thanks Anita. 

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Prominently perched atop the Acropolis in Athens is the ancient Parthenon. This iconic building is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world, and for many visitors, it’s the motivation for the journey to Greece. Most scholars consider it the perfect Greek building, but 2500 years and a turbulent history have not been kind to the structure. And truthfully, the restoration that remains today takes a good deal of imagination to fully appreciate. If we could just get a glimpse of a full-scale replica – and in Nashville, Tennessee, we can.

Athens Corner


In 1897, a Centennial and International Exposition was held to blow the Tennessee trumpet (or more appropriately, twang the Tennessee guitar), and show visitors how modern and successful the state was.

Athens Parthenon


Playing on their reputation as “The Athens of the South,” the decision was made to construct a complete, and full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Athens as the centerpiece for the exposition.

Athens Horses


The temple was meant to be temporary, but it proved so popular, that it was rebuilt with more durable materials. Today it functions as a popular museum, which showcases the work of local artists, and an interesting display on the Exhibition. However, the headliner for the show is a replica of the sculpture of Athena, which originally stood in the Parthenon in Athens. Completed in 1990, this golden sculpture is breathtaking, and you’ll hear more about it later.


The temple and sculpture are exceptional because they’re the only full-size replicas in the world, and they’ve been reproduced with scholarly detail. I’ve visited the Acropolis in Athens twice, and I didn’t realize until I saw the Parthenon in Nashville, that my mental picture wasn’t complete. I had read about the beauty of the original, but couldn’t appreciate what this really meant until my visit to Nashville.

If you have an interest in Greek Architecture, and are anywhere near Nashville, do yourself a favor and make the detour to see the Parthenon. And who knows, you might even hear some music, and enjoy a bit of southern hospitality.

Happy Trails,

P.S. And for you attentive folks out there, NO that is not dandruff on the photos. It was snowing in Nashville! Amazingly, the last time we saw snow, we were living in Athens, Greece!


23 thoughts on “The Perfect Greek Temple: Right At Home In Nashville

    • Thanks Joyce. I assume that you’ve been on one of your trips to Scott’s. One of our commenters recommended it, and honestly, I had forgotten about it. I’m really glad we visited. Love, JH

    • It’s definitely worth a trip inside. We’ll be posting on the fantastic Athena statue inside, but there are also casts of the Elgin Marbles. It really is a hidden gem, and I’m surprised that the museum doesn’t get more attention. ~James

      • Great! One of the things I remember so vividly from my trip (aside from the variety of fabulous fried foods) was the quality of the buskers on every street corner. Each one sounded like they were worthy of a record contract. I started talking to one and he was German! A true pilgrimage spot.

    • Don’t feel to bad Mark. I grew up about 100 miles from Nashville, and I’m embarrassed to say that I hadn’t been until recently. But somehow, I think that I could appreciate it a bit more after seeing the Parthenon in Athens. ~James

  1. This post is exciting for us Nashvillians because we get to see the comparisons to the original. It makes us proud to know that we have such a detailed and true reproduction. If it impresses someone who’s seen the original (a few times), then it must be good.

    I hope people will make the pilgrimage – great music, delicious BBQ, and southern hospitality guaranteed! 🙂

    Thank you so much for mentioning my blog. If it’s okay with you, I’ll reblog this today.

    • Feel free to reblog this post, and thanks in advance Anita. Nashvillians should be proud of this wonderful attraction. As I said to another commenter, I’m surprised that it hasn’t gotten more attention, and I’m doubly embarrassed that I hadn’t visited before. Thanks again for the headsup. ~James

  2. It was snowing when I visited the Parthenon in Nashville over Christmas. It seems we blog about the same topics. (grin) My daughter lives in Hendersonville, just a hop and a skip away and we took the grandkids… It’s a beautiful copy. As for Athena, I think people have a hard time in general picturing Greek statues as anything other than white marble.

    • The snow at the Parthenon was a surprise, and made the outside viewing a bit shorter than it would have been. Re: the details. After visiting and looking at the Nashville shots, I went back to my Athens photos and noticed all sorts of details that I had missed initially. And the Athena statue is an added bonus.~James

  3. Reblogged this on noted in nashville and commented:
    My blogging buddies and globe trekkers James and Terri made a stop in Nashville recently to see our Parthenon reproduction. Check out their comparisons to the original in Athens.

    • Thank you very much, Anita, for this reblog… it is fantastic – who could imagine such a structure in such perfection anywhere outside Athens? (Well, I for one could never have thought of it 🙂

      I was mesmerized by the pictures themselves, can’t imagine how beautiful it will be for real. You are lucky to have it in your backyard…:)

    • I don’t know if Nashville has a Greek festival, but the park and museum would be the perfect place. Most of the cities that we’ve lived in have a festival. Usually, it’s the annual fundraiser for the Greek Orthodox Church, and with all the church ladies doing the cooking, the food is wonderful. ~James

  4. I had no idea that this replication had been done in Nashville. We are hoping to do some exploring in this part of the country since we will be spending more time in the midwest to assist elderly parents.

    • Hi LuAnn, There are so many fun reasons to visit Tennessee. Not only is it gorgeous, but it has wonderful natural resources and camping. Nashville is the icing on the cake – especially now that we’ve discovered the Parthenon. Hope you have a chance to make it there. ~Terri

  5. I haven’t been there in years! We only live about 50 miles south of Nashville… maybe with this new lifestyle I should take the time to actually go see some things in my own state again. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Thanks for the comment Lena, and for dropping by the blog. Don’t feel so bad, I grew up 100 miles north of Nashville (in Glasgow, KY), and I had never been to the Parthenon until recently. Go if you can, it really is cool. We’ll be posting on the wonderful statue of Athena that’s inside in a few days, so watch for it. BTW, your “Snazzy Turtle” looks pretty deluxe. I’m envious. ~James

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