Taxco - Of silver curios, cobbled pavements and a pink Church

Taxco Travel Blog

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Plateria - store where they sell silver artifacts

Taxco is a few minutes away from Cuernavaca, and to any Mexican is synonymous with silver. Not just now, but from several centuries when it was first discovered. The thing you first notice about Taxco (pronounced Tahs-koh) is how hilly it is. It's located on a hill surrounded by lots of hills, and so far in my Mexico trip, this was the first time I felt I was in a European country. I've never been to Spain, but I can visualise it being hilly and lots of houses built in all directions and levels. Another thing that struck me when I went to this place was...erm... India! Especially the colourful streamers and hangings on the road (blue, pink and white).

Our first stop, as you'd expect in a tour was a store that sells silver artifacts and the first thing they do is take you to a setup of a mine and show you how it's done.

Impression of a mine
The first part of demonstrating how silver is extracted from the ore was a bore fest. Nothing like actually seeing it live in a mine as opposed to a makeshift 'set'. They then point you back to the ground floor where you can buy any artifact you so wish to buy. Mind you, it's quite expensive. And I hate how they justify their high prices by saying that other sellers "all over the country" are fake and this is the only place that sells "real" silver. Uhmm...ok!

I've always hated shopping at the made-for-tourist stores, it also doesn't help that they sell things like silver that goes completely over my head, not to mention that I don't have one of those big bungalows to store it in. I wanted to hit the road soon, but all my other travel companions (a Filipino, 2 Mexican girls working as hotel concierge and a Spanish couple) were busy shopping and I didn't feel upto it venturing on my own.

Silver exhibits at the store
We got done in an hour or so, and went walking up the town for lunch.

I really like this place. It's your picture perfect sunny hilly town - as mentioned in the title earlier, cobbled pavements, houses just scattered around, very nice. The weather was also pleasant. I was surprised at how SUVs were making their way through those narrow hilly lanes though! Lunch was at the El Atria - horrible restaurant, see my review below. Less said, the better. But after lunch, we continued to make our way to the city centre with our guide explaining the various traditions of the place and its history, including the drawing in front of one of the Community Halls of the town that depicts men playing some kind of game with a hurling ball to win over God's approval (or something like that, forgot the actual story!).

Mexican snacks and crisps at a streetside vendor

The one running theme that I noticed in this town was the abundance of silver shops. Silver seems to come in every form - big statues, small statues, tiny souvenirs, the works. It was about 3pm and we made our way up the hill, up the cobbled pavements to the city centre, or the Plaza Borda. This is a very tiny centre, VERY. But it's so crowded and not even in a touristy way, but in a genuine "all the locals converge here" kind of way. Our guide was waiting for us and he ushered us into the landmark of this town...the Church!

Santa Prisca y San Sebastian Church is the centrepiece pink Parish church with 2 imposing twin towers that towers over the town's skyline. The story goes that there was a French miner, Jose de la Borda who struck it rich in the silver mines and as a "thank you" to God, he funded the church.

Taxco roads
It was completed sometime in the 18th Century and to this date is one of the grandest Baroque churches in the country. The outer facade is impeccably well carved, I could've just stood there all day staring at the wonderful designs. But the reality is, I'd be then denying myself of what was inside.

This was the first Church I was entering in Mexico and it already tells me that this IS going to be a country full of opulent churches. Inside the church, you had simple wooden pews and floor, but the decorations were intricate - you have gold leafed saints and angels, they're there in all 4 walls of towering heights, I could only stand there and think how did they get this up that high? It was also interesting comparing this with the churches I've seen in the UK - the UK had stain glass paintings but weren't too big on the ornaments inside.

But here, churches seem dripping with gold and glamour. The guide then took us to another room with paintings by Miguel Cabrera, including a very rare one of Jesus being circumcised.

After this, we were led to the interesting Silver Museum that had some really interesting silver 'creations'. including a picture of a warrior with about 4000 of his "hair" strands all made in silver. The only thing that was annoying me about this tour was the constant push to visit the shops first and make a purchase.

It was about 330pm by now and the tour guide gave us time till 5pm to head back down the hill to the silver store where we first went to. I badly wanted to climb higher to get more panoramic and higher views of the Church. So I went along with the Filipino guy and the Mexican girls, and climbed up steep steep hills (God bless the cars that go up and down this road) and finally made it to a view point.

Clicked some more pictures whilst enjoying the lovely breeze and the mild sunshine. Went back to the meeting point by 445pm, took some more shots of the Church and headed back to Mexico City arriving around 730pm.

I got back to the hotel, turned on the telly to see the latest tally on the Mumbai killings and had dinner downstairs in the horrible restaurant. Day one done, and thoroughly enjoyed!

 

aswold says:
I can't stand when tour companies to you to all those cheesy "tourist" shops.
Posted on: Dec 20, 2008
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Plateria - store where they sell s…
Plateria - store where they sell …
Impression of a mine
Impression of a mine
Silver exhibits at the store
Silver exhibits at the store
Mexican snacks and crisps at a str…
Mexican snacks and crisps at a st…
Taxco roads
Taxco roads
Balcony of El Atria, restaurant in…
Balcony of El Atria, restaurant i…
Painting on the middle of the road…
Painting on the middle of the roa…
Masks on sale through the roads
Masks on sale through the roads
Panoramic view of the town with th…
Panoramic view of the town with t…
The citys landmark, the San Prisc…
The city's landmark, the San Pris…
The pink intricate architecture of…
The pink intricate architecture o…
Inside the church
Inside the church
Rare picture of Jesus being circum…
Rare picture of Jesus being circu…
A statue of Jesus
A statue of Jesus
Another church in the city
Another church in the city
Back view of the church around sun…
Back view of the church around su…
Taxco Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Taxco maybe known for silver, this restaurant's known for its pish!
I had lunch here as part of my day trip with Grayline Travels and it was a disaster from the get-go. For the rather pathetic portion of food you get, … read entire review
Taxco
photo by: Biedjee