The 20th century appears to have had little effect on Taxco,
perhaps due to the fact that it was literally cut off
from the rest of the world until the first paved road
was constructed to Taxco in 1930.
To ensure the permanence of the city's almost
"fairy tale colonial character,"
the Government declared Taxco a national monument.
Now it seems that the ground floor of every building in town
holds a silversmith shop. The town is graced with cobblestone
streets which weave their way around and over the hills.
There are no paved streets on Taxco.
The town is replete with pink and white stucco houses
with their balconies filled with flowering plants.
Tourists, lured by the exquisite work of the silversmiths,
have made Taxco a popular day trip from the Pacific resorts
of Acapulco and Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo. But Taxco's quaint,
quiet beauty begs for a longer stay.
Taxco is truly what visitors expect Old Mexico to be.
Before Cortés took control of the country in 1521,
The área near what is now the city of Taxco was named Tlachco,
which means "place where the ball is played" in Nahuatl.
Taxco is a Spanish adaptation of the Nahuatl Indian name.
Shortly after Cortés’ conquest of Mexico City,
he sent two emissaries to search for metal deposits in Taxco.
They found silver, and in 1529, the Spaniards quickly moved
into the area to mine. Taxco was Spain's primary source
in the New World for precious metals.
In 1716, Jose de la Borda, a Spaniard of French ancestry,
came to Taxco and discovered new rich silver deposits.
The story goes that while riding in the hills of Taxco, his
horse kicked up some soil and revealed a rich vein of silver.
Borda became rich from the silver and was considered
the "father" of Taxco as it is still known.
He built schools and houses and roads.
Also, he built the magnificent parish church of Santa Prisca,
which to this day is the focal point of the town.
In 1926, American born William Spratling,
an architecture professor form Tulane University,
came to study Mexico and its people
and changed the silver industry and the country forever,
both economically and artistically.
He utilized the artistry of the native people
and his own artisan genius to forge the stunning results
for which Mexican silvercraft became world-notable.
Spratling’s reverent interpretations of the Aztec
and classical designs and his concepts of how silver
should be worked are appreciated
more and more among museums, collectors and connoisseurs.
In the beginning, Spratling had to motivate and encourage
the community artisans to work silver into fine jewelry.
They made only platters, candlesticks and the like from silver.
Their interest was to make only objects of gold,
usually filigree work. The goldsmiths believed
it was beneath their dignity to work in silver.
Gradually, and happily, the evolution took place
and so the moderm Taxco tradition was established.
Today there are thousands of silversmiths
producing the beautiful work from the Taxco silver.
The array is a fabulous mixture of European, Northamerican,
Aztec, Mixtec and Zapotec and other pre-Columbian designs
Expertly cast, or constructed from .925 sterling silver.
There are three museums and a few other buildings worth a visit.
Right behind the church of Santa Prisca is the Museo de Taxco
Guillermo Spratling. This is mainly filled with pre-Columbian
artifacts from Spratling's private collection.
Just around the corner, at Calle Juan Ruíz de Alacrón 6,
sits one of the oldest colonial homes in town,
Museo de Arte Virreinal, better known as Casa Humboldt.
This is in reference to the great German explorer and
philologist Alexander Von Humboldt who visited Taxco.
The contents are mainly colonial religious art.
The information placards are in English as well as Spanish.
A most interesting museum is the Museo de la Plateria
(Silver Museum), located on the zócalo, or Plaza Borda.
This is the place to learn about silver-making
and to see some classic pieces,
including some of those by William Spratling.