Nashville is home to the Grand Ole Opry , a symphony, a ballet, The Tennessee Performing Arts Center, The Nashville Children's Theatre, The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, a State Museum, a children's science museum, a planetarium, a zoo, 21 four- year colleges, and The Parthenon.
You read that correctly, The Parthenon !Before Nashville became Music City, it was known as Athens of the South , and because of this, we have an exact replica of the ancient Greek Parthenon right here in Nashville.
In the year 1796 Tennessee became the sixteenth state of the Union.
The name "Tennessee" comes from the Cherokee name Tanasai, which was a village in the area.
With the first arrivals of non-Indian settlers, such as Timothy Demontbruen, James Robertson and the Donelson Party, in the early 1790's, Tennessee quickly severed it ties as being known as the western part of North Carolina, and later The State of Franklin, and applied for admission into the Union.
Within the next century, Tennessee found itself transformed from a trading post, frequented by Mountain Men exploring the fur trades from the Mississippi river to the Upper Illinois territories; to a thriving Educational and Commerce center.
In the 1840's educator Philip Lindsay thought that Nashville should encourage the ideals of Classical Greek education, such as Philosophy and Latin and be known as the Athens of the West.
While that nick -name never took hold, decades later Nashville would be given a similar nick-name; Athens of the South, that would became synonymous with Nashville until the title of Music City arrived, with the dawn of the Grand Ole Opry in the 1930's.
In 1895 Tennessee searched for a way to commemorate its 100-year anniversary and decided on a centennial exposition to be staged in its capitol of Nashville and then building an exact replica of the Parthenon of ancient Greece and thus the Parthenon, being the pinnacle of the Grand Exposition, was the first building erected.
The name Parthenon refers to the worship of Athena Parthenos, the 'Virgin Athena' who issued fully grown from the head of her father Zeus. The maiden goddess and patroness of Athens, she represents the highest order of spiritual development and the gifts of intellect and understanding. Pure in body, mind and heart, Athena is the symbol of the universal human aspiration for wisdom
Today, the Parthenon, which functions as an art museum, stands as the centerpiece of Centennial Park, a large public park just west of downtown Nashville.
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