Museums and Tapas in Cordoba Spain

Museums and Tapas in Cordoba Spain

A day trip to the fabulous city of Cordoba in the south of Spain combines outstanding art with mouth watering food. I've been living on Benalmadena Costa on Spain's sunny and easygoing Costa del Sol. One of the reasons, apart from the weather and the life style was, that several of Spain's most historic and fascinating cities, including Cordoba are within easy reach and very suitable for numerous day trips.

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La mezquita de Cordoba: Both a cathedral and a mosque

Cordoba, on the shores of the River Guadalquivir, has the second largest old town in Europe, dominated by the Mosque/Cathedral which is considered as the most important example of Renaissance and Moorish architecture in Europe. The building started out as a church in dedicated to St. Vincent in 600 AD. After the Islamic conquest when Cordoba became a caliphate, ruler Abd-ar-Raman started to convert the church into a great mosque, a transformation which went on for about 200 years. The 856 columns made from marble, jaspis (jasper) and granite support the structure and are indeed, a sight to behold.

In 1236 Ferdinand III of Castille defeated the Arabs and the mosque became a cathedral, with a renaissance nave constructed in the middle of the Islamic columns. It is a combination of outstanding art and a monument to the dramatic changes in the history of Spain.

Museum of Guadamecies Omeya: Art on leather

After having admired the Great Mosque, I set out to do what had enticed me to book a the trip -- set out on foot hunting for secret treasures and places no guide book or tour operator would take you to. I got lucky on two counts!

Sitting in a small square and enjoying a coffee, my eyes fell on a beautiful building at the corner with a banner attached which read: Casa Museo Arte sobre Piel which means house/museum of art on leather.

museo de arte sobre piel Museum of art on leather
What I found when I entered was a beautiful, typical town house, the ground floor of which had been converted into a private museum, dedicated to the Islamic art of embossing leather during the Omeyan period and creating 'paintings' of outstanding beauty. I couldn't tear my eyes away from the elaborate designs of trees, flowers, birds and fruit and the vivid colors, interspersed with glittering gold and silver. The lady in reception is a member of that family and only too happy to explain everything you want to know. The art on display is contemporary and the artist is also a family member. He recreates ancient designs as well as more modern ones of his own imagination. Photography is not allowed but when I told the lady what I do for a living, she graciously permitted me to take one picture. A hard choice, but here it is!

The Museum of Inquisition

Happy to have already found one out of the way museum, I continued on toward the old Jewish quarters, La Juderia in search of more. I was rewarded, when I happened upon the Museum of the Inquisition which documents the period of the Spanish Inquisition from the 13th century onwards. It's somewhat gruesome to see torture instruments which were actually used on real people and to see the paintings of so much suffering, but, it's history and one cannot close ones eyes to it. I was somewhat dismayed to see the museum shop were miniatures of the torture instruments were actually for sale. I asked the attendant if anyone bought these terrible things and she said: Oh yes, as a gift for the mother-in-law!! I kid you not.

Despite the shocking experience in the Museum of inquisition, I was hungry and I remembered, that Cordoba is also famous for her tapas, there delightful Spanish snacks which reach from slices of tortilla, to sausages, gambas, sardines, salads, grilled peppers and a sin fin of other delicacies to sweets.

The Tapas Trail in Cordoba

I entered a charming boutique to buy a pair of earrings and, as we got talking, the assistant handed me a leaflet The Trail of the Tapas in Cordoba.

Balcony over tapas bar in La Juderia
What a stroke of luck, just what I had in mind. Each year there is a competition among the over 30 tapas bars in Cordoba's Old Town to win the prize of best tapa. Some 15 of them are in La Juderia, right where I was and I set out to tickle my palate and fill my stomach.

The most succulent tapa I had was a bit of suckling pig with fresh figs and crunchy bread and my beloved "gambas pil-pil", prawns cooked in piping hot olive oil with garlic and crushed chili peppers.

On my way back to Benalmadena on the comfortable coach, I was already planning my next daytrip to Granada.

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Inka Piegsa-Quischotte Born in Germany, Inka Piegsa-Quischotte has lived and worked as an international attorney in Spain, Switzerland and the UK for many years. Two years ago she turned novelist and travel writer and now lives between Miami and Istanbul as basis for her many journeys either West or East. Her articles have been published in GoNomad, The Expeditioner, Literary Traveler, Travel with a Challenge, Europe up Close, Neos Kosmos newspaper, Lighthouse Digest and In The Know Traveler among others. She contributes regularly to Europe a la carte, as well as and is the Beirut expert for NileGuide. Her personal travel blog is called

Unless otherwise indicated, all photos by the author

Updated: November 27, 2016

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