Mexico / Central Mexico / Guerrero
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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Taxco – Mexico’s Oldest Silver Town

Taxco is situated on the densely grown, southeastern slope of the El Atache mountains at an altitude of 1,660 m (5,446 ft.).

The silver town is renowned primarily for its old silver mines and the grandiose Santa Prisca church. White houses, strolling people, silver stores, files of VW Beetles, exhaust gas, blue sky over weathered pinnacles, all this and much more is Taxco de Alarcón in the federal state of Guerrero. As you walk through the labyrinthine narrow streets, you feel like having stepped back into 18th-century Mexico. The paved streets are narrow and adventurous, gushing fountains and red-roofed houses mark the picturesque townscape. Although the mines have long been exhausted, this is the place to admire – or purchase – the best silver works in all of Mexico. Besides the Silver Museum, where the Mexican history of the noble metal and the development of the silversmith’s craft are exhibited, you should by no means neglect to visit the artistically decorated, majestic Santa Prisca church, which was completely built in Churrigueresque Baroque style.

The Tlahuica Indians, who lived in Taxco – which they called Tlachco – and its surroundings, paid their taxes to the Aztecs in ingots of silver and gold. After the Spanish had arrived, the first Spanish mine in the New World was built where today is Santa Prisca church. Taxco did not become famous for its silversmiths’ craft before the early 20th century. William Spratling, an American professor, hired young artists and set up a silver shop with them. As the years passed, his pupils opened silver shops of their own, and the craftsmanship is thus transmitted from generation to generation in several families.

The climate is very agreeable in Taxco. In winter, the sun rapidly warms the many small squares and viewpoints, while in summer, the narrow, shadowy streets remain pleasantly cool.