Tues 16 October
Is this sad to admit? But one of the initial reasons why we chose to travel to Nashville was to see the Parthenon in Centennial Park! Not the country music or the ‘Hot’ chicken, but to see a replica of a now crumbling ruin in Greece?
We grew up reading the Harry Potter series, and after all the books and movies were released we were searching for another similar series to fill the bespectacled broom-flying void HP had left us with. And the best we could find was the Percy Jackson series, about a teenage Greek Demigod (and we subsequently completed the 10 book Percy Jackson/Heros of Olympus series over the next 2 years). In the 8th book of the collection (Mark of Athena), the main story-line was the quest to recover the missing statue of Athena Parthenos. And in good old Nashville Tennessee, inside the full-scale replica of the Parthenon was a 13m (almost 4 stories tall) replica of the statue, painstakingly reproduced following ancient records right down to the colouring and 3.5kg worth of gold leaf.
When we arrived at Centennial Park there was less than 60 minutes before the Parthenon was to close for the day (we had spent too much time at previous stops having red wine slushies). So we made straight for the ticket seller and literally just climbed the stairs until we reached the main level where the statue stands. I was later surprised to learn that we had by-passed the art gallery on the lower floor *shrugs*
Although signs stated no photography, everyone were taking pics with their phones, thus so did we.
There was a sense of awe within that space, like being in a gothic chapel. All talking was made at hushed tones, and there was a sense of peace and tranquility being in the presence of the goddess. Often reality doesn’t meet expectation, but after all the anticipation of coming half way around the world to see this, it really did meet our expectations.
But the best part for me was the gift store, where I held a replica of a replica, a 3-inch tall replica of Athena Parthenos. Holding the statue I tried to picture an almost 2 story tall shield, a 3 story tall spear and a 6 foot tall Nike standing in the goddess’s palm. Incredible! If you’re ever in Nashville, the Parthenon is definitely worth checking out! – $8 US entry fee per person.
And once we had enough of the gift store, we spent some time walking around the Parthenon and Centennial Park as the sun was setting.
A great way to get to all the touristy attractions in Nashville, is to purchase an Old Town Trolley tour ticket, which allows you unlimited hop on and hop offs from 9am to 5pm.