The Great Mosque of Cordoba (Mezquita)
Cordoba’s mosque, once the main mosque of Western Islam and now known as the Mezquita, is one of the largest mosques in the world and the finest achievement of Moorish architecture in Spain. The Great Mosque ranks with the Alhambra in Granada as one of the two most magnificent examples of Islamic art and architecture in western Europe , despite later alterations that carved out its middle to create a Catholic cathedral at its heart.
The Prado and Paseo del Artes, Madrid
The Prado alone ranks among the best art museums in the world for the abundance of its collections. But add the National Art Museum of Reina Sofia, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, and the CaixaForum, all along the mile-long, tree-shaded boulevard of Madrid, and you’ve got what might be the highest concentration of priceless art treasures in the world. It’s no wonder it is known as the Boulevard of the Arts, El Paseo del Arte.
San Lorenzo de El Escorial
The summer home of the kings of Spain was San Lorenzo de El Escorial, about 45 kilometres northwest of Madrid, and in 1563, construction began here on a huge complex that would include a monastery, cathedral, royal palace, mausoleum, library, and museum, all conceived as a memorial to Philip II and his reign. The result is an impressive array of attractions, constructed across 16 courtyards, its rooms and structures linked by 16 kilometres of corridors.