• Mezquita, Córdoba, Spain


Straddling a sharp bend of the Guadalquivir River, Córdoba has a glorious Roman and Moorish past, once serving as a regional capital for both empires. It's home to Europe's best Islamic sight after Granada's Alhambra: the Mezquita, a splendid and remarkably well-preserved mosque that dates from AD 784. Beyond the magnificent Mezquita, the city of Córdoba has two sides: the touristy maze of streets immediately surrounding the giant main attraction, lined with trinket shops, hotels, and restaurants; and the workaday but interesting modern city. In between are the side lanes of the Jewish Quarter, humming with history.