Wednesday, March 12, 2014

If you can't go to Greece, try Nashville instead

            People were thinking big during the Tennessee Centennial Exposition that occurred in Nashville in 1897. Many buildings that went up during the Exposition followed an ancient theme — the Southern city had been called the “Athens of the South” for its highfalutin universities such as Vanderbilt — so it was only natural for them to recreate the Parthenon. This massive building in the heart of Nashville is an exact reproduction.
            The original building was meant to be a temporary display — yeah, let’s build the Parthenon but don’t worry about making it permanent! Nashville residents were so enthralled with having a slice of Greece in their midst, their mouths watering for grape leaves daily, that they insisted the towering building remain. The plaster, wood and brick building was then rebuilt using concrete. The Nashville Parthenon got an even more thorough facelift in 2002.
            Today, the Southern Parthenon is used as an art museum in the middle of Centennial Park, just outside downtown Nashville. Inside the icon lies another re-creation, that of Athena Parthenos, standing at 42 feet high and covered with more than eight pounds of gold leaf. In case you’ve forgotten your Greek history, the Parthenon was dedicated to the goddess Athena.
            So save your money if you’re thinking of heading to Greece. Nashville, Tenn., might just do the trick.

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