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Taxco
 Page updated on 03.10.2015
 
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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, Morelos, Puebla and Oaxaca.

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 Holy Week.
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

Church Santa Prisca 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.

     Right picture: Church Santa Prisca

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.”

view of the city from "el Cristo del Cerro"
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.

Left picture: view of the city from "el Cristo del Cerro"


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 ("pueblo mágico"). 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 to climb!

one of the towers of Santa Prisca Church 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 art.

     Right picture : one of the towers of Santa Prisca Church

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 American cultures.
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
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.

Left picture: Santa Veracruz Temple

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 Trinidad
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 silver crafts.


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.ex-convent of San Bernardino de Siena
view on "el Cristo del Cerro"

 

 

 

 

 

 



     
     Left picture: view on "el Cristo del Cerro"

     Right picture : ex-convent of San Bernardino de Siena

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 :

 

Santa Prisca church during Easter WeekCelebrations and Traditions


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.

     Right picture : Santa Prisca church during Easter Week

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

     Below pictures : some views of Taxco and Santa Prisca church with its gorgeous dome

 

church santa prisca view of Taxco
el cristo del cerro church santa prisca

 

 

 

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