Taxco

Taxco

Around every turn and corner of Pueblo Mágico Taxco's winding stone streets you can enjoy spectacular views from over this colonial mining town with its stately old homes, balconies, and plazas. You will also discover beautiful examples of the silver for which it is renouned.

History

Taxco's original location was an Aztec village about 16 Km south in what is now called "Taxco El Viejo" ("Old Taxco). The region was inhabited by the Tlahuicas, and although the Aztecs had been invading this town during most of the 15th century, it was not completely dominated by the Aztecs until 1445.

The first colonial reference to the site was in 1524, when Cortés sent a letter to Carlos V noting that they had sent out explorers to the area in search of mineral deposits. The Spanish liked the area because of the climate and its proximity to the mineral deposits. By 1529, the Spanish had dominated the entire area and Cortés founded and established Taxco in the current location which was known as Tetelcingo at the time.

There are two legends about the origin of its name. The first one, Nahatl tlacheco or tlacho, means "place of the ballgame." This is the official explanation, and the coat of arms of the city has a glyph in the shape of an Aztec ballcourt. There is another legend that ascribes the name to "tatzco" in Nahuatl, or "where the father of water is," linking it to a nearby waterfall on Atatzin Mountain.

Taxco remained nearly the same for two hundred years until the arrival of Spaniard Jose de la Borda. Borda discovered one of the most important silver deposits and from this discovery he became a very rich man. You will find his name all over Taxco, as he was responsible for funding many public and private works in the city center.

Another key stage in the development of Taxco is credited to American architect William Spratling. Spratling moved to Mexico in 1929 after spending three summers there and was involved in various collaborations with muralist Diego Rivera. He arrived in Taxco in 1931 and began development of the silverworking industry in the town, using native motifs and traditional designs to create an entire new industry and a new definition of Mexican silver design, and to make Taxco the center of this industry.

Things to do in Town

Santa Prisca Church

Santa Prisca Church's elaborate ornamentation is reflective of its Spanish Baroque or Churrigueresque style. On the main "Borda" Plaza, the church was built between 1751 and 1758 by Jose de la Borda in gratitude for the great wealth he acquired in Taxco.

Legend has it that after Borda commissioned the church, he left on a business trip and a cold, dark terrifying storm ensued. The sky filled with dark clouds and a bolt of lightning illuminated a dark silhouette that was swooping down on the church and then it struck the dome and light in up in a strange way. The inscription "Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth for men with good will" appeared and all the townspeople fell on their knees to pray. A beautiful woman with a beatific smile also appeared in the sky and who was catching lightning bolts before they hit the church.

Casa Borda

Home of Jose de la Borda and museum of sacred art and local craftsmanship, also host to book signings, theater, concerts.

William Spratling Museum

This museum displays Spratling's collection of 293 archeological pieces, as well as a collection of counterfeit artifacts.

Museo de Arte Virreinal (Viceroyal) in the Casa Humboldt

Casa Humboldt, a former inn, was named for German writer, naturalist, geographer, and explorer Baron Alexander Von Humboldt who once stayed there. The museum contains colonial period art and artifacts, many from Borda's home.

San Sebastian Church

Capilla Santísima Trinidad

Veracruz Church

Located on the Plazuela del a Veracruz, this church contains a famous image of Christ nicknamed, "The General," that figures prominently in the Good Friday processions. The plaza has monuments to playwright Juan Ruiz de Alarcon.

Plaza del Ex-Convento (or Ex-Monastery) San Bernadino de Siena
On this plaza you will find the Ex-Convento San Bernadino de Siena and the San Bernadino de Siena church. These represent the oldest church and monastery in the area, constructed in the late 1500s. The church contains two famous paintings, Cristo de los Plateros (Christ of the Silver Workers) and El Senor del Santo Entierro (Lord of the Holy Burial).

Silverworks Museum (Museo de la Platería

Antiguo Ayuntamiento (Old Town Hall)

This building was constructed in the late 1700s and is located on Plaza de Carnicerías. Worth a visit to see the Mexican history mural by Luciano Cabrera.

Chavarrieta Chapel
Famous for the crucifix donated by Antonio de Chavarrieta.

Casa de Juan Ruiz de Alarcón

Home of 16th century writer, this museum contains many manuscripts from the colonial era.

Hacienda El Chorrillo

Constructed by soldiers of Cortés, Hacienda El Chorrillo is one of oldest in region and served as one of the early silver haciendas from colonial period. It was bought by William Spratling in the early 1900s, and currently it is home to the Center for Fine Arts and the Institute of Culture of Guerrero.

Tianguis de la Plata

Visit silver workshops located along Calle San Agustin, find silverware with more than 20 jewelry and fine ornamentation such as necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings, crosses and ancient objects with pre-Hispanic motifs. The most famous are the workshops of Daniel Espinosa, Guillermo Arregui and Emilia Castillo. In addition to the silverware, there are stalls around the center where you can also purchase.

Festivals AND EVENTS

Holy Week (Semana Santa)

Holy Week includes many processions and activities. The procession of the Penitentes is unique to Taxco.

All Saints, All Souls and Jumil Festival

These three festival converge during the first three days of November

GASTRONOMY

Jumiles are the main cultural food of Taxco. These small stink bugs (Atizies taxcoensis) are prepared in a variety of ways and even have their own Festival del Jumil on November 1st in Taxco.

NEARBY PLACES TO VISIT

Cable Car (Teleférico)

From the Hacienda El Chorrillo, you can take a cable car up to the top of Monte de Taxco. 800 meters long and 173 meters up.

Alejandro Humboldt National Park

Nearly 2500 acres of ecological reserve for hiking, camping and other outdoor activities.

Taxco El Viejo

Visit Old Taxco and see the Ex-Hacienda San Juan Bautista which was built in 1543 in the style of a medieval castle.

Blue Pozas

Located in Atzala, 16 km southwest of Taxco, Blue Pozas is a natural spa made by a stream coming down from the mountain. This is also a great place to hike.

The Cacalotenango Waterfall

The water falls from over 80 meters up. The area offers opportunities for hiking, bird watching, and horseback riding. Located about 15 km west of Taxco.

The Cacahuamilpa Caves of Cacahuamilpa National Park

Northeast of Taxco, these are some of the largest cave systems in the world.

Cristo del Cerro Atachi

This giant statue of Jesus is located on the Cerro Atache near the Casahuates neighborhood. The view from the Cristo is spectacular, as you can see nearly the entire city and outlying area.

Xochicalco

Located between Cuernavaca and Taxco, Xochicalco archeological site reflects a convergence of Teotihuacan, Mayan, Zapotec and Matlatzinca cultures. At its peak between 700 and 900 CE, it is thought that the city had a population of up to 20,000 people. Residents of nearby Cuentepec still speak Nahuatl. One of the most interesting things to experience at Xochicalco is the astronomical observatory. Between April 30th and August 15th, a guide will take you into the into the cave where it is located, and you can see how the and sunlight enters the cave from the hole at the top. This observatory monitors the sun's movement towards the Tropic of Cancer. On May 14th or 15th and July 28th or 29th, the sun is at its zenith and the beam of light shines directly from above the hole onto the floor of the cave. The photo to the right shows the entrance to the cave.

VIDEO TOUR

How to get there

By Car

Follow highway 95D towards Cuernavaca. Pass Cuernavac and pick up highway 95 towards Taxco.

By Bus

From the south terminal at the Taxqueña metro stop, you can take one of a number of buslines to Taxco: Futura, Turistar, Estrella Blanca, Costa Line or Estrella de Oro.