Nashville has a Parthenon replica, here’s why

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 the 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.

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.

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