Nashville Travel Guide

Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County. Nicknamed "Music City, U.S.A.", Nashville is the home of the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and many major record labels. Since much earlier times it has been called the "Athens of the South", for its educational institutions and classical architecture. Nashville is also a major hub for the health care and publishing industries.

Nashville lies on the Cumberland River in the northwestern portion of the Nashville Basin. The population of the entire 13-county Nashville metropolitan area is 1,311,789, making it the most populous metropolitan area in the state.

Much of the city's cultural life has revolved around its large university community. Particularly significant in this respect were two groups of critics and writers who were associated with Vanderbilt University in the early twentieth century, the Fugitives and the Agrarians.

Many popular tourist sites involve country music, including the Country Music Hall of Fame and Ryman Auditorium, which was for many years the site of the Grand Ole Opry. Each year, the Country Music Association's Fan Fair (renamed "CMA Music Festival" in 2003) brings many thousands of country fans to the city.

Other popular destinations include Fort Nashborough, a reconstruction of the original settlement; the Tennessee State Museum; and The Parthenon, a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, Greece. The graceful State Capitol is one of the oldest working state capitol buildings in the nation, while The Hermitage is one of the older presidential homes open to the public. The Nashville Zoo is one of the city's newer attractions.

Civil War history is also important to the city's tourism industry. Sites pertaining to the Battle of Nashville and the nearby Battle of Franklin and Battle of Stones River can be seen, along with several well-preserved antebellum plantation houses such as Belle Meade Plantation and Belmont Mansion.

Nashville is also the home of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, where the Tennessee Repertory Theatre makes its home. The Tennessee Performing Arts Center is also home to the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Nashville Opera, and Nashville Ballet. The Nashville Symphony Orchestra will eventually move to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, which is scheduled to be completed in 2007.

Nashville has several arts centers and museums, including the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, located in what was formerly the main post office; Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art; the Tennessee State Museum; Fisk University's Van Vechten and Aaron Douglas Galleries; and The Parthenon.

Although Nashville is renowned for being a major music recording center and tourist destination, its largest industry is actually health care. Nashville is home to more than 250 health care companies, including Hospital Corporation of America, the largest private operator of hospitals in the world. Other major industries in Nashville include insurance, finance, and publishing (especially religious publishing). The city also hosts headquarters operations for several Protestant denominations, including the United Methodist Church, Southern Baptist Convention, and National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc..

Some of the most notable people born in Nashville include novelist Madison Smartt Bell, civil rights activist Julian Bond, rapper Young Buck (David Darnell Brown), singer Rita Coolidge, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, artist Red Grooms, pin-up model Bettie Page, actress Annie Potts, and soldier of fortune William Walker.

Many notable musicians have lived in Nashville including Chet Atkins, Johnny Cash, Amy Grant, Emmylou Harris, Jimi Hendrix, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, Ernest Tubb, Shania Twain, Hank Williams, and Tammy Wynette.

Other notable people who have resided in Nashville include former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, former U.S. President Andrew Jackson, civil rights leader James Lawson, former U.S. President James K. Polk, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and poet Robert Penn Warren, novelist Ann Patchett, and talk show host and entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey.

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