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Classical Architecture in a Southern Setting


It’s All Greek to Us

No need to travel all the way to Athens to see the Parthenon (and who says their food is better than Southern cuisine?). Nashville’s full-scale replica is a piece of the city’s history in its own right. Construction began on the building in 1895 in preparation for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition of 1897. The builders used plaster, wood, and brick—inexpensive material as was typical for the rest of the exhibit’s buildings. The city loved the structure so much that it stayed, deciding in 1920 to transform it into a permanent aggregate concrete striation. Local architect Russell Hart began the reconstruction, which ended in 1931 as the Parthenon re-opened as a city museum with donated paintings (the building still functions as an art museum). From 1987 through 1988, interior renovations improved the galleries, completed the lower level, and added a gift shop. 

Right in Centennial Park, you can still enjoy this classic masterpiece in a southern locale. Don’t miss the 42-foot sculpture of Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom. Inside, you’ll find temporary exhibits in addition to works from donor James M. Cowan’s collection.


Tuesday–Saturday, 9:00AM–4:30PM

Sunday, 12:30PM–4:30PM

Closed Monday.