A top summer travel suggestion if you can’t visit Greece.

Several years ago, we were touring the 2,500-year-old Parthenon (the temple of Athena) on the Acropolis in Athens; our guide said the place she most wanted to visit in the U.S. was Nashville. I was surprised, not because Nashville isn’t wonderful, but it wasn’t what I expected. When I asked why, she pointed to the thousands of broken marble blocks scattered around the ruins of the magnificent temple and said that her entire life, she had only seen this destruction, but in Nashville, there is an exact-size replica of the original Parthenon including its patron goddess in all her glory.

The Parthenon was Blown Up
Like many pagan buildings the Parthenon was converted to a church when Christianity became the dominant religion in Greece. When the Ottoman Turks conquered the city it became a mosque. 

In 1687, the Venetian forces that were part of a Holy League intent on recapturing the city from the Muslims attacked. The Ottomans were using the Parthenon to store ammunition, and some historians think that the Ottomans believed the building was safe because the Venetians would never destroy the iconic building. 

They were wrong.

During the Venetian assault, an estimated 700 cannonballs struck the building’s western facade alone, igniting stored gunpowder and blowing out 28 columns, damaging several internal rooms, and killing up to 300 people.

A year later, the Venetians were forced to abandon the city as a new Turkish army approached. They considered blowing up the remains of the Parthenon to prevent its further military use but decided against the plan. 

I hope our guide gets to Nashville.