on July 3, 2006
The Parthenon in Centennial Park is a landmark of Nashville, and one of the only, if not the only, full-scale replica of the Athenian Parthenon in the country. It sits in the middle of Centennial Park, a park which serves as a study ground for nearby Vanderbilt University students, as well as containing an ampitheatre and hosting events such as the Tennessee Arts and Crafts festival.In 2001, the Parthenon finished a restoration project that apparently created quite a divide between local classicists; it has been restored to a sand color, with full color on all of the pediments, as it would have looked during Classical times. The giant statue of Athena was also restored, with paint and gilding added.For $5 you can enter the museum, with exhibits about the history of the Parthenon, as well as galleries for both local artists and more famous works. Although you can see the Athena without entering the museum, the entry fee allows you to get close to the statue (close enough to see the Nike in her hand clearly), as well as getting close views of the pediment sculptures, reproductions of which ring the large room. I recommend paying the money--it's as close to ancient Greece as you are likely to get in Tennessee, and some of the artworks are quite breathtaking.Even if you don't pay to get inside, a walk or picnic amongst the columns is well worth the visit. You feel so small, and yet such a part of history. And there is a wonderful barbeque joint nearby for some good, quick southern food.
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