Overview

Tennessee
Tennessee © Wdwic Pictures

This relatively small, landlocked state is bordered on the west by the Mississippi River and the Appalachian Mountains to the east. The combined cultural and historical mix infused from its many southern neighbours has resulted in Tennessee becoming the central melting pot of musical styles, eventually coalescing into modern country, blues and rock 'n roll music, for which the state is now world-renowned.

Since the mid-1950s, Tennessee's main tourist attraction has been the legendary King of Rock 'n Roll, Elvis Presley. He may have died close to 30 years ago, but his legacy remains, drawing thousands of fans to his former home in Memphis, the state's largest city.

The State capital, Nashville, has a musical heritage second-to-none as well as being home to the Grand Ole Opry, the worldwide centre of country music.

Outside the main cities, Tennessee, which is only 480 miles (772km) long and 115 miles (185km) wide, offers a surprising number of wilderness areas and natural attractions, where the only music is the bubbling of mountain streams or the call of birdsong. In the eastern part of the state, a series of beautiful ridges and valleys rise up to the highest point of Clingman's Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which Tennessee shares with North Carolina. The state is blessed with a vast system of reservoirs, offering 29 lakes, filled with fish and offering water sports opportunities.

The state also contains a multitude of historic heritage trails, including the scenic 'Trail of Tears', starting just east of Chattanooga in the south and stretching for 260 miles (418km) through Tennessee before heading into Kentucky. Along this route 13,000 displaced Cherokee Indians were marched to Oklahoma, Tennessee. Oklahoma was the centre of the western theatre of the Civil War and witnessed more battles than any other. It now also preserves and maintains numerous war sites, like Shiloh and Lookout Mountain.



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