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Taxco, Guerrero

Photo: Cathedral

Taxco de Alarcón, (elevation: 5,800 feet) is Mexico’s original Silver City and located in the state of Guerrero. The town’s name was derived from the Nahuatl word tlacho meaning ‘the place where ball is played.’

Natural World
Taxco is lodged in the foot of La Bermeja mountain of the Sierra Madre Range.

After the Spanish conquered the Aztec Empire, they learned of rich mines south of Mexico City. After Spanish explorers discovered a cache of minerals, Taxco was founded in 1529, The city was home to the first European mine in the Americas, Sovácon del Rey.

However, the first mines were depleted of riches and the town limped along for nearly 200 years.

The resurection of mining took place in the 1700s after the arrival of José de la Borda, a Frenchman of Spanish descent. Borda opened several mines and became one of the wealthiest people in the country. The main square in the town center is named Plaza Borda in his honor.

Borda financed Taxco’s Santa Prisca Church, whose twin steeples tower over the main plaza. This work was completed in 1758 and is considered one of the best examples of Churrigueresque (Mexican baroque) architecture in the country.

In 1928 the Mexican government made the entire city a national monument which means that its colonial buildings cannot be torn down or modified.

In the 1930s writer-architect William G. Spratling arrived from New Orleans. Enchanted by the city, he set up a silver jewelry shop specializing in Indigenous designs, many of which are still used by the descendents of Spratling’s silversmith students. His work gave Mexican artisans the freedom to create designs in non-European forms. Because of his influence, Spratling has been called the Father of Mexican Silver. His house stands about 100 meters from the Plaza Borda on Calle del Arco. It is now called the Museo Guillermo Spratling.

More than 300 stores sell silver, including earrings, necklaces and tableware. The Silver Museum (Museo de la Platería) is located on the northeast corner of the Plaza Borda.

Located in the state of Guerrero, Taxco is located 275 kilometers (170 miles) north of Acapulco and 110 miles from Mexico City.

Taxco also hosts a variety of annual festivals including the Alarconian Theatrical Festival in May, and the Silver Fair in November. The Silver Fair began as an initiative of Spratling in 1937 to honor the artisans who produced his designs.


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