As the capital city of Tennessee, Nashville enjoys a reputation as both an entertainment mecca and a center of economic and industrial growth. First settled on December 25, 1779, Nashville was originally known as Nashborough, named after Revolutionary War hero General Francis Nash, and later became Nashville in 1789. During the Civil War, Nashville was the first state to succumb to the Union troops. Late 19th century Nashville was a prosperous city, firmly establishing itself as shipping and trading port on the Cumberland River. Many of the opulent, classical-style buildings that line the city streets today were built during this time of elegance.
Today, Nashville's economy continues to thrive, with a population reaching about 1.5 million people in 2006. The majority of Nashville residents are white, African American and Latino, with a smaller percentage of American Indian, Asian and Pacific Islander residents. Located on the Cumberland River in the north-central region of Tennessee, Nashville encompasses 526 square miles.
Known as Music City, Nashville is home to the legendary Grand Ole Opry broadcast. Still staged live every week, the Opry is America's longest-running radio show, having been on the air for more than 80 years. Though it's often noted for its role in the development of country and bluegrass, Nashville has become a hub for all musical genres. Notable artists such as Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan and Jimmy Buffett have all written, recorded and produced music in this illustrious city.
Music makes up an integral part of the city's culture and attractions. Nearly 80 record labels, 130 music publishers and 180 recording studios have made Nashville home. Explore artifacts, photographs and original recordings from country music's past at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. See the outfits and instruments of country greats such as Roy Acuff and Patsy Cline, along with Marty Robbins' restored office, at the Grand Ole Opry Museum. Stroll star-studded Music City Walk of Fame, recognizing big name inductees such as Reba McEntire, Wynonna Judd and Hank Williams, on your way to one of the cities many "honky tonk" bars and nightspots, each marked by a Nashville Live Music Venue sign. Or, grab a bite to eat at any of Nashville's authentic barbecue spots.
Despite being known as the city that "music calls home," the sounds of country and bluegrass have not drowned out Nashville's rich and colorful past. Many other key fixtures in Nashville are closely knit together by history. Visit the Hermitage, once home to former President Andrew Jackson and the most authentic presidential home in the United States, or tour the region's history from prehistoric Indian cultures to the early 1900s at the Tennessee State Museum. Ascend the grand staircase of the Belmont Mansion, regarded as one of the most elaborate homes of antebellum Tennessee. Or, experience a civilization from across the seas at the Parthenon, located in Nashville's Centennial Park and the world's only full-scale replica of the Greek Parthenon.