Two hours to the southwest of Mexico City, not far from Acapulco, sits Taxco, one of the most romantic, charming and important towns in all of Mexico. Resembling a small European village, the streets slope up and down like those of Italy, nesting with white houses donning terracotta-tiled roofs and pink floral accents.
History of Taxco
Centuries ago, Taxco was the main supplier of silver to Europe, and the quality and artistry of the locals have not declined. Silversmiths here are some of the most talented in the world. This phenomenon is one of the true Mexican arts, a blending of Spanish and indigenous masterpieces.
Before the arrival of the Spanish, the locals valued silver as much as cacao, the chocolate plant once considered valuable enough to be used as currency. Locals enjoyed silverâ€™s aesthetic quality, but it was not a sought-after luxury because it was so plentiful and common. When the Spanish arrived, they assigned a great value to the silver and began extracting it, creating the mining industry which has defined Taxco ever since.
The Silver City
Needless to say, the â€śsilver city,â€ť as it is nicknamed, is sprinkled with silversmithsâ€™ shops that carry everything from elegantly crafted necklaces and earrings to solid silver sculptures of animals and unique silver art. Jewelers and jewelry-wearers would be hard pressed to pass up the shining trinkets found here.
The Santa Prisca Cathedral
Towering over the village stands Taxcoâ€™s towering cathedral, Santa Prisca. Identified easily by its enormous stature with twin bell towers, it was designed and built by town founder Jose de la Borda in the late eighteenth century. The Baroque-styled exterior of the church gives way to a chamber decorated with painted porcelain figures that inspire even the most out-of-practice believer. The decorative stained glass and paintings also make it an unforgettable experience of art and faith.
There are several museums of interest in Taxco. If youâ€™ve come for the silver, check out the Silver Museum. Donâ€™t miss the Museo Virreynal de Taxco to learn more about its history, from its native cultures to the Spanish influence and the current lifestyle of the land.
Other Activities in Taxco
It is not only silver jewelry and breathtaking churches which make Taxco a heart-fluttering romantic haven. One of the most enjoyable activities is strolling down the quiet brick-paved streets, or lounging while people-watching in the town square, directly in front of the cathedral. For a special date head up to the Taxco Hotel, which has the best view of the cityâ€™s beautiful landscape.
There is much to see and do in the surrounding region as well: you can go cave diving at the famous Grutas de Cacahuamilpa or hiking at the Alejandro Humboldt National Park. Not far from Taxco is the Mezcala River, known for whitewater rafting.