When I was in high school, I took Latin as a language instead of Spanish and French. During that class, I remember making a replica of the Parthenon out of dowel rods and wood. Of course my dad helped me, and our combined perfectionism and hours of sawing and gluing got me an A+. Ever since, I wanted to visit the monument. I later discovered there was a replica in the US after attending an athletic competition in the complex across the street. We could never visit it though because it would be closed by the time we finished.
I knew when I was in town during the road trip that I would have a chance before heading out of Nashville. So, I got there just as it was opening. That would later turn out to be smart, because as I was leaving, there were over two buses worth of people waiting to go inside.
As I arrived, there were morning workouts going on around the building. On the front steps was a personal trainer motivating a woman to continue with exercises on the stairs. On the side were some people having a yoga class. I decided to start with the outside of the building because it is a pretty massive structure. The columns are large, but the intricacy of the sculptures at the top are very impressive. The doors are massive and protected by their own iron fence.
You actually start the tour underneath the structure. When you walk in, there is a front desk where you buy tickets, and a small gift shop. You walk up a ramp where there are pictures of the history of the building’s construction. It puts into perspective the scale it took to replicate it. Then, surprisingly, you enter a room with paintings. I didn’t really look at the significance of the relationship to why the paintings were chosen to be displayed here, but they were beautiful. It was a nice surprise.
As you continued through, there comes a point where you go upstairs onto the same level as where you first started outside. And then you see it, because is it the main feature of the site: a giant gold statue of Athena. She is enormous and a spectacle. If you have Snapchat, I will admit I did a face swap with the face on the shield, and it was priceless. The shield she holds is painted on both sides.
After you continue through her room, you find a smaller room where the sculptures from the top of the building outside are featured. It explains how they created them, and it was pretty cool so see up close to understand their size.
And that’s the whole building. Hopefully I didn’t miss anything because I was on a time constraint, but I think the art and Athena were worth the $6 ticket. I highly recommend visiting, and it can take as little as an hour and up to 3 hours to really take it all in. If I had more time, I would have liked to bring a lunch and enjoy it outside on the grass next to the monument.