mosque, head towards the Palacio de Viana. Interesting sights on the way include the Plaza del Potro, mentioned in "Don Quijote", and the museum of local painter Julio Romero, famous for his realistic portraits of women.
In May, the streets are full of flowers and houses open their patios and decorate them in a 10-day competition, the "Festival of the Patios".
The Palacio de Viana, built in the late 15th century, was the home of the Marques of Viana who was close to King Alfonso XIII.
The house is built around 12 patio gardens, each with a distinct design varying from orange trees, palms and fountains to one with a huge 400-year-old Holm Oak. The rooms contain some magnificent tapestries, as well as period furniture and paintings.
To appreciate the intellectual might of Cordoba under the Moors, visit the Museum of al-Andalus in the Tower of Calahorra, on the banks of the Guadalquivir.
Also, about 15 minutes west of the city is the Medina al-Zahra palace built in the 10th century by Abd al-Rahman III. In his heyday, he impressed audiences with a room studded with diamonds and a mercury fountain that visitors thought was liquid silver.
For a tour of the city, local guides can be hired by the hour. Reuters used Juan Torres Carmona, a friendly multilingual guide with a flexible schedule.
The mosque is illuminated at night and there is a spectacular nighttime tour at 10 p.m., dubbed "The Soul of Cordoba."
There is dancing at the Centro Cultural de Flamenco in the Posada del Potro, the former horse stables in the Plaza del Potro. Alternatively, catch a flamenco show near the mosque at El Tablao El Cardenal every night at 10:30.
If you like horses, there's also a popular nighttime show of Andalusian thoroughbreds with flamenco music at the Royal Stables.
BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINNER
Cordoba offers a wide range of casual outdoor cafés to fine dining where you can sample regional dishes, some of the best in Spain.
At Casa Pepe de la Juderia at Calle Romero 1, famous local bullfighters are featured on the walls, including the legendary Manolete who died in 1955 after being