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Church of Santa Prisca and its Surroundings

Date of Submission: 20/11/2001
Criteria: (i)(iv)(vi)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
CONACULTA-INAH Dirección de Patrimonio Mundial
Coordinates: 18°33’16” N ; 99°36’20” W 1765 mt. a.s.l. Municipality of Taxco, Guerrero State, MEXICO
Ref.: 1543

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The Church of Santa Prisca, along with its towers built in pink stone and its dome covered with polychrome tiles can be seen fi7om any point in town. Its construction took only seven years, from 1751 to 1758, a record time for the XVHI century. Its great artistic value lies in the total unity achieved between the whole and each of its parts, ranging from furniture, -structure, sculptures, paintings and ornaments, to the smallest detail. Its single crossshaped nave is very narrow due to the confined site where it was erected. The interior is magnificent. Nine Churrigueresque baroque altarpieces embellish the nave and transept, and three others can be found in the Chapel of Jesus Nazarene. Santa Prisca's innovations represent a revisionist and retrospective concert of the characteristic features of the baroque style, but at the same time they display a renewing spirit. It is one of the most important baroque works of art in the world, in which the best painting, architecture and sculpture techniques of a period were brought together. The central part of its facade is decorated with one of the most outstanding traditions of the baroque: a large relief extolling the baptism of Christ. The construction of this church was conceived entirely by Jos6 de la Borda, a rich New Spanish miner, as a way of thanking God for the prosperity of his mines. Therefore, this church was built as an homage to his religious zeal. Several contemporary buildings were erected in the area immediately surrounding the Church. These include the Borda House, the Humboldt House (now the Museum of Sacred Colonial Art), the Casa Grande and the former Convent of San Bernardino. A series of plazas are also located near the Church, such as Borda Plaza (which is the main garden), San Juan, Bemal, Parque de las Carnicerias, and Guerrero Park. All of these, along with the particular urban lay out with its winding stone-paved streets without sidewalks, create picturesque nooks and sites that characterise this mining town.