"Cortes called this Home" Top 5 Page for this destination Cuernavaca by mtncorg

Cuernavaca Travel Guide: 98 reviews and 235 photos

Cuernavaca, capital of the small state of Morelos, is one of the oldest cities in Mexico dating back to 1200 BC. The city was known as Cuauhnahuac which was changed by the Spanish after the Conquest. The people of the area, known as the Tlahuica by the Aztecs, were stout allies of the Aztecs, Montezuma's mother was from here. They ruled over other cities in the area and traded extensively with other regions. When the Spanish came, they resisted stoutly but were defeated in 1521. with the Conquest complete, Cortes set up his house here with his wife, La Malinche, and established the Catedral de la Asuncion - both the house and the cathedral being built with the rubble of older native pyramid's.

The city is set 600 meters lower than Mexico City - about 5200 feet as opposed to about 7500 feet - and this ensures, along with latitude, a constant pleasant climate without the night and morning cold that can occur further north in the Capital, hence the nickname, "the city of eternal spring". Set on hills bisected with small canyons running in a north-south direction, Cuernavaca is centered around the Plaza de Armas - the Zocalo - where Cortes built his palatial fortress for himself and his wife. The Zocalo serves as a living room for the city and gets very full and busy at night. Geography dictates a bit of confusion when it comes to a road network which can come close to collapse during some of the day due to the vast amount of traffic endlessly moving about. Suburbs sprawl in most directions. The autopista from Mexico City to Acapulco skirts the city's eastern fringes, making it easily accessible to weekenders from Mexcio City - a fact im much evidence. The pass leading over from Mexico City is 3100 meters high/1023 feet and it takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to drive, depending upon the traffic. You have grand views over Cuernavaca and most of the State of Morelos from the road as it sweeps down from the pass.

Besides Cortes, one of the other names most influential in the history of Cuernavaca and Morelos is that of Emiliano Zapata. Descedants of Cortes were very influential in the area for 300 years after Cortes left Mexico to return to Spain in 1540. Sugar cane production became a main industry and Morelos was one of the world's main producers in the late 19th century. A few people became very rich, though most remained in abject poverty. Constant encroachments on native village lands in the name of sugar during the long years of the Porfirato (President Porfirio Diaz 1876-1910) led to the cry for 'Tierra y Libertad' (land and liberty) of the Zapata movement and one of the main shows of the Mexican Revolution occured hereabouts. Zapata not only captured Cuernavaca but along with the forces of Pancho Villa and Carranza (under Obregon) they captured Mexico City. Bickering and the lack of common ideals led the three to go their separate ways. Zapata returned to Morelos where eventually, Carranza was able to isolate him and then have him assasinated.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Climate, restaurants, culture and history
  • Cons:Lots of traffic
  • In a nutshell:Eternal Spring and History Seeping
  • Last visit to Cuernavaca: Nov 2003
  • Intro Updated May 22, 2005
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Reviews (9)

Comments (5)

  • Rusket's Profile Photo
    Jun 27, 2006 at 6:56 AM

    I was there in december 2000, but haven't made any page. Yet. Maybe I will, some day ;-)

  • karenincalifornia's Profile Photo
    Jan 11, 2006 at 10:43 PM

    Having just returned from Mexico, I'm having a hard time adjusting to life north of the border (not to mention cold rainy weather). So how am I coping? Mixing margaritas, making fajitas, listening to Selena, and reading mtncorg's pages on Mexico!

  • gkitzmil's Profile Photo
    Nov 25, 2003 at 11:39 AM

    Great reminder for me!! I loved this city. -- Greg

  • mrclay2000's Profile Photo
    Nov 22, 2003 at 12:33 PM

    The stonework in these churches, homes and the archways. . . looks better suited to your Slovenia stuff than Old Mexico. Incredible.

  • XenoHumph's Profile Photo
    Nov 18, 2003 at 12:23 PM

    What a nice place to go work for a little while... especially when it allows escaping the grey rainy Oregon fall, hehehe... Great page!

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