Tennessee – The Volunteer State

Tennessee is a US state located in the east of the country, one of the most popular among tourists. It is famous for majestic mountains and incomparable lakes, a huge number of historical sites and a rich cultural heritage. The main tourist centers are the state capital of Nashville (world music center), Memphis, famous as the place of death of Elvis Presley, and the Gatlinburg resort center.

Rural Tennessee

Tennessee was formed on June 1, 1796 and became the 16th US state. However, this land was inhabited 12,000 years ago by the predecessors of the Muscogee and Cherokee Indians, while Europeans first appeared here much later, only in 1540. The state of Tennessee actively participated in many hostilities in the country, often becoming a field of fierce battles. This was especially evident during the years of the Civil War, since the state is located literally on the “equator” of the United States.

Tennessee was glorified by the musicians Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Justin Timberlake, the writer Tennessee Williams, who lived here, and the famous whiskey Jack Daniel’s.


There are several versions of the origin of the state name. One of them connects it with the name of one of the Indian settlements and the largest river nearby – Tanasqui. According to another version, the name Tennessee comes from the word tana-see, which in translation from the language of the Yuchi Indians means “a place for meetings.”

Most US states have nicknames in addition to their official names, and Tennessee is no exception. These places are called the Volunteer State or the Volunteer State. This nickname appeared during the Anglo-American War at the beginning of the 19th century, when it was thanks to the volunteer forces of the population of Tennessee that they managed to turn the tide of a very important battle near New Orleans.

The state motto is Agriculture and commerce. The people call it differently: the state of hominy with pork, the state of the big bend, the homeland of presidents from the southwestern part of the United States.

How to get to Tennessee

You can fly to America from Moscow by direct flight only to the airports of New York, Washington and Atlanta by Aeroflot or Delta Airlines. The price depends on the specific destination, the chosen airline and the date of departure.

It is more convenient and profitable to take a ticket for a direct flight, for example, to New York, and then from there to get to the desired place by domestic plane, train, bus or rented car. Most airports in Tennessee are concentrated near Knoxville and Gatlinburg (east of the state), in the center of the region there is an airport in Nashville, and in the west – in Memphis.

Weather in Tennessee

The close proximity of the state to the Gulf of Mexico makes Tennessee’s climate humid and hot, that is, subtropical. Only in the mountainous regions is the continental climate preserved, without such strong humidity. It is the Gulf of Mexico that protects the state from hurricanes, but tropical cyclones happen. About fifty days a year, Tennessee skies are lit up with flashes of lightning and thunder is heard everywhere. Sometimes tornadoes occur, most often in the west of the state.

Summers are hot here – the average temperature is +32 °C (it is noticeably cooler at night), and winters are quite mild – on average, the temperature ranges from -3 to -7 °C. Summers are coolest in the eastern part of the state, while winters are coldest in mountainous areas. Snowstorms sometimes occur in winter.

Popular hotels in Tennessee


Tennessee is the cradle of rock and roll, blues, country and many other musical styles. Among them are songs of the black population. Here you can hear not only expressive Negro spiritual hymns, but also “work songs” that were once sung on the plantations. This music plays at many state celebrations: the Gatlinburg Craft Fair, the Iroquois Steeple Chase in Nashville, the West Tennessee Strawberry Feast.

Tennessee is the only state where the production of a special type of corn whiskey is officially allowed. It is distinguished from bourbon by careful charcoal processing of sugar maple. Through it, the alcohol obtained after distillation is filtered drop by drop, then passing it through three-meter barrels clogged with coal. After these manipulations, the whiskey becomes softer and more pleasant to the taste. The most famous brand of Tennessee whiskey is Jack Daniel’s, popular in many countries of the world, including Russia. There is another popular variety that bears the name of the state – Tennessee whiskey – but it is not so common outside the country.

Cities and Landmarks in Tennessee


The state capital is the city of Nashville, founded in 1779 on the banks of the Cumberland River. Although it is the main city of the state, it is not the most populated: it ranks only second after Memphis. Today, about 630 thousand people live in it. Nashville hasn’t always been the capital of Tennessee – it used to be Kingston, Knoxville, and Murfreesboro.


It is surprising that Memphis , the largest city in the state (677 thousand inhabitants), founded in 1819, has never been its capital. Of the four largest cities in Tennessee, Memphis is the youngest. But Memphis is not known for this: it is called the city of music, it was here that rock and roll luminaries Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, bluesman BB King, country singer Johnny Cash, gospel star Aretha Franklin (as well as Justin Timberlake) worked. The extraordinary atmosphere of Memphis inspired Mark Cohn, who wrote the famous song Walking in Memphis, which was sung by the singer Cher. It was in Memphis that Martin Luther King, a fighter for the rights and freedoms of black Americans, was killed.

Memphis is home to the famous Beale Street music street and the Sun Studio recording studio, with which Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash collaborated and where you can still come on a tour. A small park named after Tom Lee, despite its modest size, is a rather popular place: they make dates here, walk, play sports. It offers a stunning panorama of the Mississippi, and it also hosts an annual music festival. In the vicinity of Memphis, there is the Elvis Graceland estate, which has been attracting tourists from all over the world for many years. There is also the grave of the king of rock and roll.

Locals are sure that only in Memphis you can taste a real barbecue.

Among tourists, cruises along the Mississippi on the Memphis Queen Line, stylized as a ship on which Mark Twain’s contemporaries sailed, are very popular.

Pigeon Forge

The state’s highlight is WonderWorks Amusement Park in Pigeon Forge. A lot of entertainment for adults and children is collected here: an upside down house, an illusion gallery, a virtual roller coaster, a 4D cinema and much more. The park is open 7 days a week from 10:00 to 21:00, and the cost of attractions is approximately USD 31.99 (plus tax) for adults and USD 24.99 (plus tax) for children 4-12 years old. You can buy tickets online on the park’s website (in English). Prices on the page are for July 2021.

In addition, country music fans come to Pigeon Forge to visit Dollywood, a huge theme park named after the popular country singer Dolly Parton. On its territory there are 40 attractions, a water park, a resort and hotels, 5 major state music festivals are held.

Where else to go

  • Reelfoot Lake, formed by the earthquakes of 1811-1812;
  • Fall Creek National Park, where you can see some of the highest waterfalls in the east of the country ( websitein English);
  • the Great Smoky MountainsNatural Park is the most visited national park in the United States;
  • Mount Lookout in Chattanooga, which is part of a whole entertainment complex: the railway, Ruby Falls and Stone City (Rock City): website(in English);
  • Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge: it was in this town that the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were developed and assembled. Another attraction of Oak Ridge is connected with this – the Peace Bell, a symbol of mutual understanding and friendship between the peoples of the world;
  • homes of Presidents Andrew Johnson and James Polk,
  • Memorial College dedicated to Abraham Lincoln in Harrogate;
  • the Appalachian Museum in Norris, reconstructing a mountain farm and the first villages in these places ( websitein English);
  • national military parks near Chattanooga;
  • an exact full-size copy of the Athenian Parthenon in Nashville (another nickname for this city is South Athens), built at the end of the 19th century. for the exhibition. Now there is a small art gallery in the building itself, and on the stairs outside the local theater puts on ancient Greek tragedies.

Tennessee - The Volunteer State