In Mexico, magic is all around us. It’s in the architecture, history, way of life – and, of course, the food. The country’s Ministry of Tourism is no stranger to this magic, and in fact, fully grasping its economic possibilities, it created the Pueblos Mágicos program in 2001 to recognize villages that are unique and historically significant. There are now 80 such pueblos mágicos across the country, and one of our favorites is just a short drive away from Mexico City.
Taxco is located only 93 miles south of Mexico City in the state of Guerrero. The name comes from the Nahuatl word tlachco, which means “ball game,” and was used for the town known today as Old Taxco, located about six miles from modern Taxco. The history of the former reaches back to the time of the Aztecs, who invaded the territory of the Tlahuicas and in 1445 made this territory a tributary province of their empire.
Then came the Spanish. They founded the city in its current location in 1529 because of its proximity to mineral deposits and its favorable climate. Taxco was then more or less forgotten for 200 years, until the 18th century, when José de la Borda discovered an important silver deposit. In 1929, the American architect William Spratling established the first silver jewelry workshop in the city, boosting the industry, and Taxco soon became known as the “Silver Capital of the World.”
Aboveground, Taxco is like something out of a fairy tale. The picturesque village clings to a steep mountainside, giving it a surreal air from the approach. The quaint cobblestone streets, red-roofed white houses and colonial buildings make it an enchanting, transporting place to spend a weekend. One of the town’s main attractions is Santa Prisca Cathedral, built between 1751 and 1758, a place of exceptional beauty and craftsmanship.
We love to sit in the charming, manicured main plaza whiling away the evening listening to folk music or eating ice cream, sweets such as jellies and flans or snacks like elotes and esquites (corn on the cob and a kind of corn salad, respectively) that are sold by street vendors there. The cafés and restaurants around the plaza provide a laid-back setting for an afternoon cup of coffee or delicious dinner (two of our favorite spots can be found below).
And of course, a trip to any town in Mexico is not complete without visiting the local markets – and the municipal market of Taxco is one of our favorites. Following the little signs, you wend your way through the narrow streets of the town until you suddenly find yourself in front of vendors hawking seasonal produce, as well as quesadillas, tlacoyos, tacos and comida corrida specialties. It’s different world full of enticing smells, exquisite food and a thousand sounds and colors. And it’s just one of the ways that Taxco casts its spell on you.
Where to eat in Taxco:
Pozolería Tía Calla
Right next door to the cathedral, this restaurant serves Taxco’s best Guerrero-style pozole, which is green from the tomatillos and green peppers that are added to the broth. It’s located inside a shopping center filled with stores hawking silver.
Flor de la Vida
This restaurant might have the best view of the city. From the second and third floors you can see the central plaza and the cathedral in all its splendor. Flor de la Vida serves the Taxco specialty mole rosa (pink mole), which is made with mezcal, pulque, beets and a dozen other ingredients and garnished with pine nuts.
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Published on July 03, 2014