A little bit about the Parthenon in Nashville’s Centennial Park!

IMG_1328The Parthenon is located in the center of Nashville‘s famous Centennial Park. The building is an exact replica of the original Parthenon, now in shambles, that once stood proudly in Athens, Greece. Within the Parthenon stands the famous 42-foot statue of Athena, the Greek goddess of reason, intelligent activity, arts, and literature. Originally built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition, the replica of the Grecian Parthenon serves as a monument to what is considered to be the pinnacle of classical architecture. The plaster replicas of the marble of the original Parthenon found in the Naos are direct casts of the original structures, which adorned the pediments of the Athenian Parthenon dating back to 438 BC. The originals of these powerful fragments are housed in the British Museum in London, England. The Parthenon also serves as Nashville’s art museum. The focus of the Parthenon’s permanent collection is a group of 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists that were donated by James M. Cowan. Additional gallery spaces provide a venue for a variety of temporary shows and exhibits. To learn more about the 40-foot statue of the Greek goddess Athena that resides inside of the Parthenon, be sure to come back to check out my upcoming blog post! To learn more about membership with the Parthenon, click here. To learn more about educational programs and fun activities that the Parthenon has to offer, click here.

  • Admission:
    • Members: Free
    • Children (under 4): Free
    • Youth (4 – 17): $4.00
    • Adults (18 – 62): $6.00
    • Seniors (63 and up): $4.00
  • Hours:
    • Closed Monday
    • Tuesday – Saturday (9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)
    • Sunday (12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.)
  • Tours:
    • Guided tours of the Parthenon are offered for groups of 10 or more by reservation only
    • School groups are not allowed to go through the Parthenon on their own without a guide
    • Reservations must be made at least seven days in advance of your tour (reserve as early as possible; as dates and times fill quickly sometimes during the year)
    • Guided tours are offered for special audiences (tours for the sight-impaired describe the art and architecture of the building through interesting touch exercises)
    • Group tours for ages pre-k – 12th grade must be guided by a Parthenon staff member or docent leader
    • Student tours are limited to 40 students (schools wishing to bring larger groups must schedule multiple tours in a single day or over multiple days)
  • Group Admission Rates:
    • Rates apply to groups of 10 or more people
    • Metro-Davidson County Public Schools: Free
    • Adult Group: $5.50
    • Tour Company Groups: $3.50
    • Student & Senior Groups: $3.00
    • When you reserve, you will receive a Parthenon Tour Confirmation sheet via fax or email (you must bring this sheet with you on the day of your tour)
  • Galleries:
    • West Gallery
      • A Day at the Fair with the David Ewing collection
    • The Cowan Collection of American Art
  • Architectural Facts of the Parthenon:
    • The original Parthenon was carved out of Pentelic marble
    • It took the Greeks approximately 10 years to construct the original Parthenon (447 – 438 BC)
    • Nashville’s Parthenon was created from brick, stone, structural reinforced concrete, and cast concrete aggregate
    • It took the City of Nashville approximately 10 years to construct the replica of the Grecian Parthenon (1921 – 1931)
    • All horizontal architectural elements arch slightly in the center (this means that there re no true straight horizontal lines in the Parthenon; these  architectural refinements made the Parthenon look alive and flawless to the human eye; this curvature is repeated in Nashville’s Parthenon)
    • The Parthenon is 65 feet high at its apex (peak)
    • The peristyle consists of 46 Doric columns (17 on each side, 6 on each end, not including the corner columns twice)
    • All of the exterior columns incline slightly inward (the corner columns are diagonally inclined; that is, they are angled toward both sides)
    • The columns of the building differ in diameter from the ones beside them and are all spaced slightly differently
    • All of the columns share a refinement called the entasis, a slight bulge or convex curvature of the shaft (although the shaft tapers, the largest diameter is about one-third of the way up rather than at the base)
    • The interior of the Parthenon is divided into two rooms (the east room is called the Naos and it houses the statue of Athena; the Naos is 93 feet long and 63 feet wide and has a two-story colonnade around three sides; the west room is 44 feet long by 63 feet wide and is called the Treasury Room; this room housed the treasure of Athens and the Delian League)
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