Without a doubt there is not a better road than
the one from Mexico City to Acapulco.
You leave the surroundings of Mexico and reach Cuernavaca, with
its beautiful bougainvilleas. Further down the road is the old city
of Taxco, perched on a hill. Finally the road ends at the sea resort
of Acapulco. Acapulco is one of
the most famous sea-resorts in the world. However, it lost part
of its fame because of the disproportional construction of hotels
as well as the invasion of the tourists.
TAXCO de Alarcón lies within the state of
Guerrero. The more known its sea resort of Acapulco is also in this
same state. The states west of Guerrero are the states of Michoacán,
Taxco is located 62 km south from Cuernavaca
the capital of Morelos.
The altitude of Taxco is 2000 m (6562 feet) with an average temperature
of 18°/20°C (64/68°F). Taxco is 5 hours from Acapulco
and 2h45 m minutes from Mexico City. If possible, avoid weekends
because of the rush of the tourists and the capitalinos. This city
of 200 000 inhabitants is famous for its Santa Prisca church, its
silver jewelry and silver art as well as its processions during
The charming colonial city of TAXCO is also a silver city built
on a hill. Its paved, narrow and steep streets are lined with unique
colonial houses topped with red tile roofs. For the best view of
the city, arrive from Iguala and discover this beautiful white city.
As you arrive from Iguala, you will be stunned by the setting, especially
if you arrive early morning or late afternoon for the best light.
The Zócalo (plaza Borda), the city’s center, is pleasantly
tree-shaded with Indian laurels and lined with beautiful houses.
One of them, Casa Borda, houses the Museo Cultural Borda
The famous church, Santa Prisca, dominates the city with its two
tutelary towers and is flanked with eight statues of apostles and
offers a perfect example of ecclesiastical. Santa Prisca is one
of the most beautiful of the Churrigueresque monuments in Mexico,
thanks to the French prospector, De la Borde.
The silver mines of Taxco, already famous in the
time of Cortès,
were revived in the early twentieth century. Today, the area houses
at least 600 silver stores with the number of tourists growing every
year. There is a wide variety of stores ranging from inexpensive
souvenir shops to elaborate jewelry stores.
Taxco’s history dates back to pre-historic times and continued
to be famous through colonial history. In the beginning, it was
called Tlachcotepan, "the place of the ball game." Its
present name, Taxco, is easier to pronounce and has the same meaning.
While exploring the region of Taxco, Cortès
discovered its potential for prosperity. However, two centuries
passed before the city became a mining center of importance. It
owes its worldwide popularity to the de la Borde Brothers (in Spanish,
de la Borda). Francisco, the eldest, mined it until his death in1744.
José, the cadet, inherited it and made it prosperous. They
discovered a vein of a lifetime, called San Ignacio, which generated
40 million pesos in silver. Since Don José experienced more
downs than ups in his career, he attributed his sudden wealth to
the divine providence and adopted this saying, "God gives to
Borda and Borda gives to God.” He kept his word. In 1751,
he commissioned the architects "Juan Caballero" and "Diego
Durán" and constructed the most beautiful church in
Latin-America. The building was dedicated to San Sebastián
and Santa Prisca and was completed seven years later with a cost
of 8 million pesos. After being wealthy, Don Jose La Borda became
almost penniless and moved to Zacatecas where he would meet with
success again in mining.
Santa Prisca has been often declared as the most perfect example
of ecclesiastical art in western hemisphere. The pink baroque church
dominates the Zócalo. The pink stone facade, relatively plain,
emphasizes the very busy architecture of the two towers. Inside,
the main altar (so busy that you need time to see the details) sets
the tone to a decoration in the best Churrigueresque style with
altar pieces sculpted and adorned with golden leaves. Have a look
also at the red and gold organ from the eighteenth century. Glimpse
at the sacristy behind the church ; the colonial painter Miguel
Cabrera left here two of his best works the "Nativity"
and the "Ascension.”
At the other end of the Zócalo (south-west), the Casa Figueroa
is another interesting thing to see in Taxco. Built in 1767 by the
Count of Cadena, Casa Figueroa had only two windows for 27 rooms.
"Cadena" means chain in Spanish. The house deserved its
name because it was completely built thanks to the hard work of
the Indians. It is also known as the House of Tears. In 1943, the
Mexican artist, Fidel Figueroa, brought it and partially modernized
it. Today, it houses an art gallery and a private museum.
The Borda Brothers are not the only ones to have given their name
to the mines of Taxco. In 1929, a young American, William Spratling,
came to Mexico to write a book. Soon short of money,
he decided to go to the bottom of the mines without becoming a miner
himself. He preferred to process the raw materials rather than extract
them. He hired silversmiths from Iguala (south from Taxco) to work
for him. Then, he hired vendors and apprentices to operate the stores
that he opened. These modest employees are now the owners of jewelry
stores in Taxco and have been for more than thirty years. Nowadays,
there are more than 600 silver stores in Taxco. Tourism and sliver
now account for 90% of the income in Taxco. Spratling was a great
Pre-Hispanic coins collector. At his death in 1967, he left the
whole collection to the state of Guerrero.
Taxco is part of the program of the magic villages
The name "Alarcón" has been added to Taxco : Alarcon,
born in the village in 1580 was a playwright who wrote many comedies.
In May, the Alarcon Days are a cultural event of music and theater
to honor him in a vibrant way.
Taxco is pleasant to visit. Take the time to be lost in the labyrinth
of streets which will always lead you back to the Zócalo.
The main buildings to visit, the museums, the market and the silver
stores are all concentrated in a restrain perimeter but you need
What to visit :
Santa Prisca Church (open daily 6AM-9PM) located in the Zócalo
is a must see ! built between 1751 and 1758. It is a MUST of baroque
The Cultural Museum Borda : This is the ex-house of La Borda, built
in 1759. Located on Plaza Borda. This beautiful colonial house has
4 levels built into the terrain and has numerous inside patios.
It looks like a fortress on the back side. It has been converted
in a cultural center with displays all year long (open 10AM-5PM,
Tue-Sun, free entrance). Visit the house for its unique design as
well as for the diverse expositions on display.
Plaza de los Gallos (west of the Zócalo)
You can reach this place with an Andalusian influence through the
Cuauhtémoc Street. Lined with jewelries, this place leads
to a place with great views. For the best photos, go in the afternoon.
Nest to Casa Borda, the ex-city-hall :
This a big building built in late eighteenth century. Look inside
at the fresco telling the history of Mexico. This fresco was painted
in 1965 by Luciano Cabrera. Nowadays, it is owned by city administration.
Museum of Silver (Plateria) : Located in the patio de las Artesanas
: on the plaza Borda, Step in the Coffee shop "Naturalito El
Café", cross it, follow the corridor lined with silver
shops, go down some steps to get in the museum : there is a beautiful
collection of silver pieces. The museum tells the history of silver
in Taxco (open AM-6PM Tue-Sun, $10).
Museum William Spratling (open 10AM-5PM Tue-Sat-and 9AM-3PM on Sunday,
$31, free on Sundays) is located on a small place behind Santa Prisca,
on the east side.
This museum offers a general view of the History of Taxco thanks
to the maps and photographs. It has a gorgeous collection of 293
Pre-Hispanic pieces given by William Spratling. This museum also
offers many temporary expositions displaying works of local artists
and producers. There are interesting specimen of skulls, semiprecious
stones, potteries and figurines belonging to the different Central
The Casa Humboldt : This house called Casa Humboldt, in memory of
the German botanist who stayed there, is one of the most beautiful
in the city. The main baroque facade is made of mudéjar stucco.
It houses the Museum of Virreinal Art with 14 rooms in which is
told the history of the city and its important mining industry as
well as the architectonic history of Santa Prisca church. Some religious
objects are also on display. The visit is interesting as much for
the objects on display than for the architecture of the colonial
hose built in 1758 (open 10AM-6PM Tue-Sat and 10AM-4PM Sun, $20
- calle Juan Ruiz de Alarcón # 6).
Santa Veracruz Temple
Simple temple built in the nineteenth century with a neoclassic
façade. Its main attraction is inside : the image of an old
and respected Christ called the General.
North of the city :
Ex-convent of San Bernardino de Siena built in 1592 : This confine
offers a simple neoclassic façade. Inside there are two images:
el cristo de los plateros and el Señor del Santo Entierro,
popular objects of devotion in this city.
Chavarrieta Church : named after Don Antoine de Chavarrieta, personage
of the city of Taxco which gave the church a beautiful crucifix,
hewn in onyx and marble. The building dates from the eighteenth
century and kept an austere façade and a plain inside.
South and close to the market : The Capilla de la Santisima
Even if it was renovated in early eighteenth century, this chapel
still has part of its original structure of the sixteenth century
which makes it the oldest monument in the city. It has a nice rustic
stone façade and a beautiful view of Santa Prisca church.
The very busy town market is open on Saturdays and Sundays. Go especially
on Sundays because of the choice of fruits and vegetables but also
Also see :
The Casa Juan Ruiz d'Alarcón (east of the city) :
The popular rumor more than the historic rigor says that the famous
playwright Juan Ruiz d'Alarcón, author of world known creative
writings, was born in this old big house. It was enhanced during
the Alarcon Days (may of each year).
on Taxco highlands :
There are several choices for nice views.
Take the cable car at the luxury hotel Monte Taxco (open daily 8AM
to 6PM). Take a "Los Dos Arcos" minibus to reach
the cable car station.
From San Juan Place, take a “Panorámica" combi
(Panorama is the name of the highest neighbor in the city).
Taxi and combi will drive you close to the statue of the Christ
(Cristo del Cerro), located west of the city – you
need still 20 to 30 minutes walking time to get there ...Don’t
forget to bring water ! You won’t regret the effort because
the view are gorgeous especially early evening when the lights of
the city go on. You could walk down if you desire. It is not a big
physical effort but it will take at least 45 minutes.
You could go to the Guadalupe church (north of the city) or to the
Chapel of the Señor de Ojeda (on the road leading
to the statue of the Christ). You will still have a nice view and
it is closer to downtown.
Extract from Unesco site : The church of Santa
Prisca and its surroundings are inscribed on the UNESCO Tentative
List since November 2001 (The Tentative List is an inventory of
those properties which each State Party intends to consider for
nomination during the following years). Click here for more details
City map :
State map :
Jan17 – Fair of San Antonio Abad : blessing of the animals,
in particular at Santa Prisca church
Jan11-12, 2014 - Santa Prisca Day
Jan 20- San Sebastián Day
Traditional Holy Week* with a silent procession on Good Friday. In
2014, Easter is on April 20 . There are many processions every
day of the week from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.
May: Alarcon Days (Jomadas Alarconianas), festival of theater and
music (usually on the last week of May).
Nov 24 –Dec 4 – Silver Fair (feria de la Plata)
Think on making reservations ahead for hotels and bus during holidays
like Christmas, Easter and the silver Fair !
See special chapter about the Holy Week in Taxco
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