How to pronounce this Aztec
name of Cuauhnáhuac meaning « place by the woods»?
The Spaniards converted the name in Cuernavaca by phonic convenience
without worrying about calling cow’s horn a so distinguished
An 80km-highway connects this city to the university city of the
Capital; there were 100 000 inhabitants in the sixties, 788 000
inhabitants (stats 2006) during the week, a lot more on weekends
! There are many cars on the roads on weekends because the inhabitants
of the Capital of Mexico, the capitalïnos look for fresh air
Cuernavaca, capital of the State
, has alway attracted the middle class. The road passes
through beautiful landscapes and ends in Acapulco
The city hosts many language schools welcoming students from all
over the world to learn Spanish.
The emperor Moctezuma and his court already tasted the delights
of an ideal climate in this valley where bougainvillea, jacarandas
and tamarinds burst their bright notes in the greenery.
City of the eternal spring (mild weather all year long; 23°
C), old residence of the Aztec
emperors, then Cortés,
it becomes again, under the Porfiriato,
in the late nineteenth century, the vacation resort for rich Mexicans
from Mexico City.
In the post war years, the city welcomes artists : Aldous Huxley,
Leonora Carlington, Benjamin Perret, Edward James, Richard Burton
and Liz Taylor, but also famous intellectuals like Erich Fromm,
Ivan lllich or Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The Shah of Iran, Mohammad
Reza Pahlavi, lived there while in exile.
Several canyons, called barrancas, crossed the
city from North to South. This city doesn’t have a lot of
imposing monuments but you could spend two days, preferably from
Tuesday to Friday : on Mondays, the museums are closed and on weekends
it is really busy. The city keeps from the Conquistador a personal
monument, the palace of Cortés, converted in museum since
1974 (Museo Cuauhnáhuac open 9AM-6PM Tue-Sun, $41). This
museum gives a brief insight of the history
of Mexico. The palace has been built over an Aztec pyramid.
Inside there are, among others, frescos of Diego Rivera, which,
far from glorifying Cortés and the Conquest, denounce the
destruction of the Aztec cities and the exploitation of Indians
by Spaniards. From the pleasant portico, the view of the Popocatépetl
is magnificent if the sky is clear. Cortès
ordered the construction in 1530; from there he supervised his vast
properties given by the Spanish Crown.
Because of these canyons, it is difficult to move from east to west
in this city but the canyon is an opportunity for a beautiful little
hike in the middle of the city. The trail head is close to the Calvario,
north of the city.
East of the river, stop by the covered market, very busy every day.
It is located close to the bus terminal, which enables easy transportation
of the goods sold wholesale in the vicinity.
You could visit the Zócalo (officially called
garden Juárez), and another bigger place, the garden of the
Heroes. The palace of government is on the east side of the Zócalo.
This garden Juárez is as pleasant as the garden of the Heroes
is hideous on an aesthetic view. In the music kiosk, the city band
resonates on Thursday evening and Sunday morning. Just beside, you
can buy delicious fruit juice all day.
Four blocks west further, the cathedral and the
gardens of La Borda are worth the visit. The gardens, very pleasant
on a hot day, were laid out in late eighteenth century by French
Joseph de la Borde. He came to Mexico in 1716 and changed his name
to José de la Borda. This famous wealthy silver mine owner
of Taxco gave his name to the gardens. Since he lived only the last
two years of his life in Cuernavaca, his son, Manuel, priest passionate
about botanic, is the one who enhanced this garden posted with basins
Local bands play some days during the week (get information at the
visitor center). You can visit the house of Borda dating from the
eighteenth century (Tue-Sun 10AM-5:30PM, $30, free on Sundays).
Facing these gardens, the Cathedral (Catedral de la Asunción
de Maria), whose construction was ordered in1529 by Cortés
himself, is one of the first churches in Mexico.
On the right, stepping in the courtyard, a chapel offered to the
“Third Order” (Templo de la tercera orden),
example of Mexican baroque architecture, is adorned with a beautiful
altar piece. You can also visit the Capilla del carmen
(nineteenth century) and the Capilla abierta (the open
chapel). From the top of the bell-tower, the view is gorgeous.
A visit really worth it : the Museum Robert Brady (north-American
painter 1928-1986), open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10AM to 6PM,
for only $30. This personal collection remained as it was since
his death. You could find some ideas of inside décor. The
kitchen is a gem. He was buried in his garden with his dog. For
the link with the site of the museum, click here.
Map of Morelos state :
Map of the city :
East of the station, a ruin in the heart of the city exempts of
excursion. The double pyramid of Teopanzolco, called « revolutionary
pyramid », because of the circumstances of its discovery.
(Open 9AM-4:30PM, $37). This happened in 1910, when the rebels of Emiliano Zapata were
fighting the federal troops. The Zapatistas had set the artillery
on what they thought is a hillock and the shaking of the cannons
revealed them the inside of the pyramid or, rather the pyramids
since there was one on the top of the other. The biggest one would
have been built by the Tlahuicans. They had this Indian custom telling
that, in case of victory, they should build a sanctuary to honor
the gods on the top of the sanctuary of the defeated.
Emiliano Zapata launched
his powerful peasant offensive from this State. He had picked the
village of Tlaltizapan to establish the headquarters of the Liberating
Army of the South. He fought during ten years reclaiming the land
to the ones who farm it. In April 1919, Zapata and his army were
arrested and killed in an ambush close to the hacienda of San Juan Chinameca (close to Cuautla). This is the reason of
the equestrian statue at the entrance of the hacienda.
If you don’t want to walk the whole tour, you can use the
Tren Turistico. It starts from the Palace of Cortes the every 45
min from 11:15AM, from Monday to Friday and every 20 min on weekends
and holidays (MXN$40). Tourist Information : (777) 317 04 21 / 138
If you want to learn more about the History of the state and its
capital, log on to the site in English :
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