Mexico’s premier destination for shopping Mexican silver craft-work is also one of the country’s most attractive colonial cities. Situated in the mountains just a couple of hours’ drive south of Mexico City, and waiting to be discovered by visitors in search of authenticity, is the charming colonial city of Taxco (“Tass-ko”).
While close enough to be a day trip from the capital, the fresh air, the colonial atmosphere and the allure of Taxco’s quintessential colonial character are best enjoyed by staying for a couple of nights, which will also give you the opportunity to explore Taxco by night, with its softly-lit streets and alleys, and more relaxed atmosphere as the day tourists vacate.
Taxco is a popular weekend getaway spot for Mexico City dwellers; it’s certainly the liveliest time to be here, although you will need to book your hotel in advance, especially on holiday weekends.
The town is enormously picturesque, whether you’re on the mountaintop looking down into the city, gazing across one of the many vantage points afforded through the Taxco’s steep terrain, exploring the narrow streets and alleyways that break open into plazas and courtyards, or looking upwards to admire the great mountains that surround this idyllic colonial setting.
A key attraction that draws visitors to Taxco is the abundance of high quality, reasonably priced silver craft-work available throughout the town. The city is dotted with stores, stalls, and markets selling a wide assortment of silver crafts. Many of the traders sell identical goods—rings, chains, bracelets, ornaments, curiosities—at remarkably variable prices, generally becoming less expensive as you move further from the center of the town, so it’s a good idea to wander off and meander down the side alleys and streets, to find merchants where you can compare the different styles and prices with those on offer in and near the center.
The famous Santa Prisca Cathedral, an impressive baroque structure that looks out onto the main plaza, is itself situated on a vantage point at Cerro del Atache mountain, making it readily visible. The church was built, and paid for, between 1751 and 1758 by Don Jose de la Borda, a Spaniard of French descent and a devout Catholic who made his fortune from the town’s silver mines. Borda himself reactivated silver mining here, as the industry had gradually diminished over the preceding two centuries when more profitable and easier to exploit deposits were discovered elsewhere in the country.
While wandering the picturesque winding streets, you are certain to come across the name of William Spratling, an architecture professor from New York whose work promoting Mexican art and artists made him popular among the country’s elite. In the 1930s, Spratling began developing Taxco as a producer of fine silver-works, a craft for which the city remains famous to this day. Taxco is home to the Spratling Museum, which honors the “Father of Mexican Silver.”
You can learn more about this eye-catching town, its charms, local attractions, and the nearby limestone caverns of Cacahuamilpa on our Taxco Travel Guide
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