For some very strange reason the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee is one of the best kept secrets in the country. How many people have actually heard of it? It is life size (the same size as the Parthenon in Greece) and was built in Nashville over 100 years ago. What a magnificent sight it is! Located just a few blocks west of downtown Nashville, it is in the Centennial Park.
Besides from being a most impressive building, the inside is ultra impressive in that they have an actual 42 foot tall statue of Athena! Yes, 42 feet tall and all in gold gilt in all of her glory! The Nashville Parthenon was originally built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition. The plaster replicas of the Parthenon Marbles found in the Naos are direct casts of the original sculptures which adorned the pediments of the Athenian Parthenon dating back to 438 B.C. The original of these powerful fragments are housed in the British Museum in London.
We really enjoyed seeing the two matching large bronze doors. A sign at the Parthenon read, “These bronze doors weigh 7.5 tons each. They are 24 feet high, 7 feet wide and 1 foot thick. They are considered to be the largest matching set of bronze doors in the world”.
The Parthenon also houses the Nashville Art Museum. The main art exhibit in their permanent collection is The Cowan Collection of American Art, a group of 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists and all were donated in the 1920’s by James. M. Cowan, a wealthy businessman from Illinois. All of the 57 paintings were done by American artists including a marvelous painting, Mt. Tamalpais, circa 1873 by Albert Bierstadt.
There is also additional gallery spaces for a variety of temporary exhibits.
When we visited in May there was a special exhibit by the photographer Jerry Atnip entitled GONE SOUTH: A COLLECTION OF IMAGES FROM THE AMERICAN SOUTH. The photographs document the southern landscape in Texas, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida. The photographer describes “something between waking and dreaming” and separately many are meditatively quiet and still. It is a very thought provoking exhibit of a way of life that most of us have never witnessed.
The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park began in 1982 and helps promotes the arts and music as well as educational programs, symposia speaker series and ongoing exhibits.
The Musicians Corner supports emerging artists and presents free music events in partnership with the City of Nashville and local music industry, showcasing over 1,000 artists since 2010. There is also a “Speaker’s Corner” Check out http://www.conservancyonline.com/
The Parthenon is located at 2500 West End Avenue and their phone number is: 615.862.8431. Their website is: http://www.nashville.gov/Parks-and-Recreation/Parthenon.aspx Their hours are Tuesday thru Saturday from 9 AM to 4:30 PM and Sunday 12:30 PM to 4:40 PM.
The admittance charge is a real bargain at only $6.00 and $4.00 for adults over 62, There is also a great gift shop to purchase souvenirs and books. Stop by a local restaurant or deli and get a lunch to go and dine on the grounds at the Parthenon. It is not Greece but it is the closet thing that you will see outside of Greece. This is a MUST SEE!
TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).