Cuernavaca is the capital and largest city of the state of Morelos
Morelos officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Morelos is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 33 municipalities and its capital city is Cuernavaca....

 in Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

. It was established at the archeological site of Gualupita I by the Olmec
The Olmec were the first major Pre-Columbian civilization in Mexico. They lived in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, in the modern-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco....

, "the mother culture" of Mesoamerica, approximately 3200 years ago. It is also a municipality
A municipality is essentially an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government. It can also be used to mean the governing body of a municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district...

 located about 85 km (53 mi) south of Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

 on the D-95 freeway.

The city was nicknamed the "City of Eternal Spring" by Alexander von Humboldt
Alexander von Humboldt
Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander Freiherr von Humboldt was a German naturalist and explorer, and the younger brother of the Prussian minister, philosopher and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt...

 in the nineteenth century. It has long been a favorite escape for Mexico City and foreign visitors because of this warm, stable climate and abundant vegetation. Aztec emperors
Tlatoani is the Nahuatl term for the ruler of an altepetl, a pre-Hispanic state. The word literally means "speaker", but may be translated into English as "king". A is a female ruler, or queen regnant....

 had summer residences there, and even today, many famous people as well as Mexico City residents maintain homes there. Cuernavaca is also host to a large foreign resident population, including large numbers of students who come to study the Spanish language.

The name "Cuernavaca" is derived from the Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

 phrase "Cuauhnahuac" and means "surrounded by or close to trees". The name eventually was Hispanicized to Cuernavaca because the Spanish could not pronounce the Nahuatl name. The coat-of-arms of the municipality consists of a tree trunk with three branches, with foliage, and four roots colored red. There is a cut in the trunk in the form of a mouth, from which emerges a grey swirl representing speech.


The first major culture to inhabit this area was the Tlahuica, whose main settlement was where the city of Cuernavaca is today. The Tlahuicas have inhabited this area at least since the twelfth century.

The first incursions south into the area by peoples of the Valley of Mexico
Valley of Mexico
The Valley of Mexico is a highlands plateau in central Mexico roughly coterminous with the present-day Distrito Federal and the eastern half of the State of Mexico. Surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, the Valley of Mexico was a centre for several pre-Columbian civilizations, including...

 occurred in the twelfth century, when a lord named Xolotl (ruler of Tetzcoco) conquered most of the Valley of Mexico. An allied Chichimeca
Chichimeca was the name that the Nahua peoples of Mexico generically applied to a wide range of semi-nomadic peoples who inhabited the north of modern-day Mexico and southwestern United States, and carried the same sense as the European term "barbarian"...

 tribe also moved south into what is now northern Morelos state, making Techintecuitla lord of the Cuernavaca area, with the Tlahuicas concentrated in the nearby towns of Yecapixtla and Yautecatle. According to the Tlatelolco Annals, in 1365, the lord of Cuernavaca, Macuilxochitl, tried to conquer lands as far as the Valley of Mexico, but was met by the lord of Chalco
Aluminum Corporation of China Limited, also known as Chalco , is a multinational aluminum company headquartered in Beijing, People's Republic of China...

, Tzalcualtitlan, with similar ambitions.

The first Aztec emperor, Acamapichtli
Acamapichtli was the first tlatoani, or ruler, of the Aztecs of Tenochtitlan, and founder of the Aztec imperial dynasty. He became ruler in 1375 and reigned for 19 years.- Family and early life :...

, began to expand his empire to the south of the Valley of Mexico and beyond in the 1370s. His successor, Huitzilihuitl
Huitzilihuitl was the second tlatoani of Tenochtitlan, governing from 1396 to 1417, .- Family and childhood :...

, was eager to press on into what is now Morelos state because of the cotton grown there, it was called Tlalnahuatl at that time. He asked to marry the daughter of the ruler of Tlalnahuatl, but was rejected. That rejection started a war that ended with an Aztec victory in 1396. Huitziliuitl then married the princess and Moctezuma I
Moctezuma I
Moctezuma I , also known as Motecuhzoma Ilhuicamina, Huehuemotecuhzoma or Montezuma I , was the fifth Aztec emperor - king of Tenochtitlan...

 was born of the union. Credit for the conquest of Cuernavaca is given to Acamapichtli in the Mendocino Codex, but later writings cite Itzcóatl
Itzcoatl was the fourth emperor of the Aztecs, ruling from 1427 to 1440, the period when the Mexica threw off the domination of the Tepanecs and laid the foundations for the eventual Aztec Empire.- Biography :...

, or even Moctezuma I, as conqueror. The conquered dominion, Tlalnahuac, was roughly the size of the modern state of Morelos, and subsequently was renamed as Cuauhnahuc by the Aztecs.

From 1403 to 1426, this province grew in strength, subduing neighboring peoples such as the Coauixcas. Eventually, the province, then ruled by Miquiuix, rebelled against the Aztec Empire. This rebellion was put down by Totoquihuatzin and Netzahualcoyotl in 1433. This area then joined in the conquests of what now are known as Taxco
Taxco de Alarcón is a small city and municipality located in the Mexican state of Guerrero. The name Taxco is most likely derived from the Nahuatl word tlacheco, which means “place of the ballgame.” However, one interpretation has the name coming from the word tatzco which means “where the father...

, Tepecuacuilco
Tepecoacuilco de Trujano
Tepecoacuilco de Trujano is a city and seat of the municipality of Tepecoacuilco de Trujano, in the state of Guerrero, south-western Mexico....

, and Ocuilán
Ocuilan is a town and municipality in Mexico State in Mexico. The municipality covers an area of 344.84 km².As of 2005, the municipality had a total population of 26,332....

. For tribute purposes, the dominion was divided into two zones, one headed by Cuernavaca and the other by Huaxtepec
Oaxtepec is a town within the municipality of Yautepec in the northern part of the Mexican state of Morelos. Its main industry is tourism, mostly aimed at the inhabitants of nearby Mexico City, and the town possesses various aquatic resorts and hotels. The climate is tropical and the countryside...

At the time of the Spanish Conquest, Itzohuatzin was governing Cuernavaca. It was a rich city and densely populated, with large farms and its characteristic ravines bridged over. In the center of the city was a large fort, however, this fort and the entire city fell to the Spanish. The Spanish marched on Cuernavaca even before taking the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. They were led by Gonzalo de Sandoval
Gonzalo de Sandoval
Gonzalo de Sandoval was a Spanish conquistador in New Spain and briefly co-governor of the colony while Hernan Cortés was away from the capital .-Arrival in New Spain:Sandoval was the youngest of the lieutenants of Cortés. They arrived together in New Spain in 1519...

 and he was joined later by the conquistador
Conquistadors were Spanish soldiers, explorers, and adventurers who brought much of the Americas under the control of Spain in the 15th to 16th centuries, following Europe's discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492...

, Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...


Cortés returned to Cuernavaca in 1523, stopping in Tlaltenango, where he founded the Church of San José and constructed the first sugar plantation. The fertility of these lands compelled the conquistador to found his favorite residence here. Juana de Zúñiga, Cortes’s wife, lived in Cuernavaca in the palace that was constructed in 1526. Cortes then moved the hacienda in Tlaltenango to Amatitlan and finally settled in his hacienda at Atlacomulco.
The Franciscans arrived in Cuernavaca in 1529 and founded their fifth monastery in New Spain
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

 there. This first group included Martín de Lua, Francisco Martínez, Luis Ortiz, Juan de Cervo, Francisco de Soto, Andrés de Córdova, Martín de Jesús, Juan Juárez, Juan de Motolinía, and Juan García de Cervo. Originally they lived at the San Francisquito hermitage, but later they constructed the open-air chapel, Capilla Abierta
Capilla abierta
A capilla abierta or “open chapel” is considered to be one of the most distinct Mexican construction forms. Mostly built in the 16th century during the early colonial period, the construction was basically an apse or open presbytery, containing an altar, which opened onto a large atrium or plaza...

, at the Church of San José in Tlaltenango. They extended their presence into the neighboring communities of Tetecala, Jiutepec
Jiutepec is a city and its surrounding municipality in the Mexican state of Morelos.It stands at .The name Jiutepec comes from the Nahuatl name "Xiutepetl" that means "the precious stones hill". It has tourist attractions like spas. It has the hotel Ex-Hacienda de Cortez. It is a hotel and Hernan...

, and Tlaquiltenango
Tlaquiltenango is a city in the Mexican state of Morelos. It stands at .The city serves as the municipal seat for the surrounding municipality, with which it shares a name.The municipality reported 30 017 inhabitants in the year 2000 census....

, among others, eventually forming the province of Santo Evangelio, which would be part of the province of Mexico in 1543. In 1646, this province was be reorganized several times. Cuernavaca and Cuautla became high mayorships which answered directly to the viceregal authorities in Mexico City. In 1786, New Spain was divided into twelve provinces and in 1824, Cuernavaca was initially a district of Mexico City.

During the Mexican War of Independence
Mexican War of Independence
The Mexican War of Independence was an armed conflict between the people of Mexico and the Spanish colonial authorities which started on 16 September 1810. The movement, which became known as the Mexican War of Independence, was led by Mexican-born Spaniards, Mestizos and Amerindians who sought...

, José María Morelos
José María Morelos
José María Teclo Morelos y Pavón was a Mexican Roman Catholic priest and revolutionary rebel leader who led the Mexican War of Independence movement, assuming its leadership after the execution of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in 1811...

 was imprisoned at the Palacio de Cortés in November 1815. Agustín de Iturbide
Agustín de Iturbide
Agustín Cosme Damián de Iturbide y Aramburu , also known as Augustine I of Mexico, was a Mexican army general who built a successful political and military coalition that was able to march into Mexico City on 27 September 1821, decisively ending the Mexican War of Independence...

's army passed through Cuernavaca to fight Vicente Guerrero
Vicente Guerrero
Vicente Ramón Guerrero Saldaña was one of the leading revolutionary generals of the Mexican War of Independence, who fought against Spain for independence in the early 19th century, and served briefly as President of Mexico...

 in 1820 and came through again in 1821, as the head of the Ejército Trigarante. After Independence and with the Constitution of 1824, the territory now known as the State of Morelos became part of the State of Mexico. Between 1827 and 1829, Cuernavaca was a district of this state. From 1829 to 1833, it was called a prefecture. In 1833, the State of Mexico declared the Atlacomulco Hacienda, which contains the Palacio de Cortés and Cortés’s houses in Coyoacán
Coyoacán refers to one of the sixteen boroughs of the Federal District of Mexico City as well as the former village which is now the borough’s “historic center.” The name comes from Nahuatl and most likely means “place of coyotes,” when the Aztecs named a pre-Hispanic village on the southern shore...

, to be public property.
In 1834, Ignacio Echevarría
Ignacio Echevarría
Ignacio Echeverría is a Spanish literary critic. He is currently a staff member of El País newspaper.-References:...

 and José María Tornel
José María Tornel
José María de Tornel y Mendívil was a 19th century Mexican army general and politician who greatly influenced the career of President Antonio López de Santa Anna.- Birth :...

 drafted the Plan of Cuernavaca, which permitted Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón , often known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, known as "the Napoleon of the West," was a Mexican political leader, general, and president who greatly influenced early Mexican and Spanish politics and government...

 to disregard the laws protecting church property, exile Valentín Gómez Farías
Valentín Gómez Farías
Valentín Gómez Farías was several times acting President of Mexico in the 1830s and 1840s.Gomez Farias was one of the more important political figures in early Mexico. The first presidency of Santa Anna from 1833 to 1836 was a temporary victory for the Mexican Liberals...

, reopen the university, and dissolve the tribunal that was set to convict Anastasio Bustamante
Anastasio Bustamante
Anastasio Bustamante y Oseguera was president of Mexico three times, from 1830 to 1832, from 1837 to 1839 and from 1839 to 1841. He was a Conservative. He first came to power by leading a coup against president Vicente Guerrero...

 for the assassination of Vicente Guerrero. In the same year, the State of Mexico declared Cuernavaca to be a city.

During the Mexican-American War, Cuernavaca was captured by the Cadwalader Brigade and was forced to pay retributions to the U.S. Army after the Cuernavaca Infantry under Francisco Modesto Olabuibel fell. During the Ayutla Rebellion in 1854, Santa Anna was forced out of the capital of Mexico City in 1855. He moved his government to Cuernavaca, reorganized it, and named a junta to elect an interim president. This junta consisted of Valentín Gómez Farías
Valentín Gómez Farías
Valentín Gómez Farías was several times acting President of Mexico in the 1830s and 1840s.Gomez Farias was one of the more important political figures in early Mexico. The first presidency of Santa Anna from 1833 to 1836 was a temporary victory for the Mexican Liberals...

, Melchor Ocampo
Melchor Ocampo
Melchor Ocampo was a Mexican lawyer, scientist, and liberal politician.His home state was renamed Michoacán de Ocampo in his honour.-Studies:...

, Benito Juárez
Benito Juárez
Benito Juárez born Benito Pablo Juárez García, was a Mexican lawyer and politician of Zapotec origin from Oaxaca who served five terms as president of Mexico: 1858–1861 as interim, 1861–1865, 1865–1867, 1867–1871 and 1871–1872...

, Francisco de P. Zendejas, Diego Álvarez
Diego Álvarez
Diego Andrés Álvarez Sánchez is a Colombian footballer. He currently plays for Deportivo Cali.-Club career:Álvarez began his career with Independiente Medellín in 2000. He played for San Luis F.C. of Mexico between 2008 and 2009. In 2010, he returned to Colombia to play for Deportivo Cali.-External...

, and Joaquín Moreno. They then voted for Alvarez as president. This new president swore to uphold the Plan of Ayutla and his inauguration was celebrated with much pomp in the city.
In 1856, the District of Cuernavaca and the District of Mexico were declared separate.
During the Three-year War (1858–1860) when conservatives rejected the liberal constitution of 1857, Juan Vicario voiced the cry of "Religión y Fueros" in Cuernavaca on 13 January 1858. In 1861, the Government of the State of Mexico created the districts of Cuernavaca, Morelos, Jonacatepec, Tautepec, and Tetecala.

In order to facilitate operations against the French during the French Intervention
French intervention in Mexico
The French intervention in Mexico , also known as The Maximilian Affair, War of the French Intervention, and The Franco-Mexican War, was an invasion of Mexico by an expeditionary force sent by the Second French Empire, supported in the beginning by the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Spain...

, President Juarez divided the State of Mexico into three military districts. The third consisted of the territories of Cuernavaca, Yautepec, Morelos, and Tetecala, with its capital in the city of Cuernavaca. Soon thereafter, this district fell into French hands. Maximilian I
Maximilian I of Mexico
Maximilian I was the only monarch of the Second Mexican Empire.After a distinguished career in the Austrian Navy, he was proclaimed Emperor of Mexico on April 10, 1864, with the backing of Napoleon III of France and a group of Mexican monarchists who sought to revive the Mexican monarchy...

 converted the Borda Garden into his summer residence and bought land in nearby Acapantzingo to construct a chalet. This prompted the construction of the Mexico-Cuernavaca highway.

When the French-installed monarch fell in 1867, Republican forces under Francisco Leyva, Ignacio Figueroa, and Ignacio Manuel Altamirano
Ignacio Manuel Altamirano
Ignacio Manuel Altamirano Basilio was a Mexican writer, journalist, teacher and politician.Altamirano was born in Tixtla, Guerrero, of pure indigenous Nahua heritage. His father was the mayor of Tixtla, this allowed Ignacio to attend school there...

 laid siege to Cuernavaca, which was defended by General Joaquín Ayestarán. The attackers cut off water supplies to the city and attacked on 3 January, but were met with a long series of street battles throughout the city. During the fighting, the general was killed and the Republican forces withdrew, victorious, to Mexico City, but only after burning a large portion of the city.

The State of Morelos was created in April 1869, with General Francisco Leyva as its first governor. Cuernavaca was declared the capital of the new state in November of the same year. In 1877, the Toluca
Toluca, formally known as Toluca de Lerdo, is the state capital of Mexico State as well as the seat of the Municipality of Toluca. It is the center of a rapidly growing urban area, now the fifth largest in Mexico. It is located west-southwest of Mexico City and only about 40 minutes by car to the...

-Cuernavaca highway was built and a rail connection created between Cuernavaca and Mexico City. In 1891, the Diocese of Cuernavaca was established by Pope Leo XII
Pope Leo XII
Pope Leo XII , born Annibale Francesco Clemente Melchiore Girolamo Nicola Sermattei della Genga, was Pope from 1823 to 1829.-Life:...

, comprising the entire state of Morelos, with Fortino Hipolito y Vera as first bishop of Cuernavaca. The first locomotive to arrive in the city was in 1897 and greeted by President Porfirio Díaz. The Bank of Morelos was founded in 1903. In 1909, the anti-reelection movement was established in Cuernavaca, and by the end of this same year guerilla operations against the Diaz government were headed by Genovevo de la O
Genovevo de la O
Genovevo de la O was an important figure in the Mexican Revolution.He was born in Santa María Ahuacatitlán, Morelos, to sharecropper parents. He was dedicated to the plight of Mexico's peasants and came to be an outstanding Liberation Army of the South guerrilla general...

 in Santa María Ahuacatitlán
Santa María Ahuacatitlán
Santa Maria Ahuacatitlán is a village in the municipality of Cuernavaca, in the state of Morelos, Mexico. Ahuacatitlán means "place among aguacates" .-Location:...

. Emiliano Zapata
Emiliano Zapata
Emiliano Zapata Salazar was a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution, which broke out in 1910, and which was initially directed against the president Porfirio Díaz. He formed and commanded an important revolutionary force, the Liberation Army of the South, during the Mexican Revolution...

 took over the movement in the south and named De la O in charge of the Cuernavaca area.
In the first decades of the twentieth century, Cuernavaca became a place to vacation and gamble when the Hotel de la Sevla was converted into the Casino de la Selva, which attracted people such as Rita Hayworth
Rita Hayworth
Rita Hayworth was an American film actress and dancer who attained fame during the 1940s as one of the era's top stars...

, Bugsy Siegel
Bugsy Siegel
Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel was an American gangster who was involved with the Genovese crime family...

, and Al Capone
Al Capone
Alphonse Gabriel "Al" Capone was an American gangster who led a Prohibition-era crime syndicate. The Chicago Outfit, which subsequently became known as the "Capones", was dedicated to smuggling and bootlegging liquor, and other illegal activities such as prostitution, in Chicago from the early...

 to Cuernavaca, however, gambling was shut down by Lázaro Cárdenas
Lázaro Cárdenas
Lázaro Cárdenas del Río was President of Mexico from 1934 to 1940.-Early life:Lázaro Cárdenas was born on May 21, 1895 in a lower-middle class family in the village of Jiquilpan, Michoacán. He supported his family from age 16 after the death of his father...

 in 1934. He is the same president who declared the area a ZPG (Forest Protection Zone). The casino hosted very important artistic works, including murals of Alvarez Icaza, Messeguer, and the architecture of Candela. The main vault was considered to be the "Mexican Sistine Chapel" by Nobel Prize author, Gabriel García Márquez.

1936 was the year that Malcolm Lowry wrote his short story, "Under The Volcano", which inspired his 1947 novel of the same name. It is still considered one of the top five greatest novels of the twentieth century, and has never gone out of print. Cuernavaca, or Quaunahuac, as it is called in the novel, and the surrounding area, figure prominently in this great historical novel, where extensive details on Mexican history, culture, topography, and especially, politics and religion figure prominently. The recurrent artifacts are the twin volcanos, Popocatepetl and Ixtachihuatel, and the barranca, symbols of division, death, and rebirth in the city of eternal spring.

In the 1960s, the city was one of the centers of the psychedelic movement. Timothy Leary
Timothy Leary
Timothy Francis Leary was an American psychologist and writer, known for his advocacy of psychedelic drugs. During a time when drugs like LSD and psilocybin were legal, Leary conducted experiments at Harvard University under the Harvard Psilocybin Project, resulting in the Concord Prison...

 tried psilocybin
Psilocybin is a naturally occurring psychedelic prodrug, with mind-altering effects similar to those of LSD and mescaline, after it is converted to psilocin. The effects can include altered thinking processes, perceptual distortions, an altered sense of time, and spiritual experiences, as well as...

 mushrooms there in the summer of 1960 and came back regularly to repeat the experience. In 1956, Erich Fromm
Erich Fromm
Erich Seligmann Fromm was a Jewish German-American social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist. He was associated with what became known as the Frankfurt School of critical theory.-Life:Erich Fromm was born on March 23, 1900, at Frankfurt am...

 founded the Sociedad Mexicana de Psicoanálisis and from his house in Cuernavaca promoted new ideas in the field of psychiatry
Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the study and treatment of mental disorders. These mental disorders include various affective, behavioural, cognitive and perceptual abnormalities...

, incorporating Zen Buddhism and "communal psychoanalytic studies" (estudios psicoanalíticos comunitarios). This attracted many artists, composers, architects, and counterculture types here.

More recently the city has seen a very active society dedicated to the preservation of its environment and cultural heritage. The Frente Civico which is now influential throughout the country, along with some 150 other organizations has promoted a boycott against Costco
Costco Wholesale Corporation is the largest membership warehouse club chain in the United States. it is the third largest retailer in the United States, where it originated, and the ninth largest in the world...

 for having destroyed the Casino de la Selva to build a couple of warehouses. One of its members, Professor Jaime Lagunez, (also promoter of Zen buddhism) lobbied a general agreement in the national congress for the purpose of protecting its sixty archeological sites, its vegetation, historic center, and neighboring forests, among other important cultural aspects of the city. (see The Frente Civico received the 2004 National Mendez Arceo Human Rights Award for having protected the world cultural heritage found in the city.

City of Eternal Spring

Cuernavaca was nickname
A nickname is "a usually familiar or humorous but sometimes pointed or cruel name given to a person or place, as a supposedly appropriate replacement for or addition to the proper name.", or a name similar in origin and pronunciation from the original name....

d "city of eternal spring" by Alexander von Humboldt in the nineteenth century. The city is located in a tropical region, but its temperature is kept fairly constant in the 70s (°F). It is located on the southern slope of the Sierra de Chichinautzin mountains. In the morning, warm air flows up the mountains from the valley below and in the late afternoon, cooler air flows down from the higher elevations. This pleasant climate has attracted royalty and nobles since Aztec times. Most of the Aztec emperors called Cuernavaca their summer residence. Foreign princes, archdukes, and other nobles have been attracted to this place because of its flowers, sun, fruits, fresh-water springs, and waterfalls. The Shah of Iran had a house here, as did the late sculptor, John Spencer
John Spencer
-Earls:*John Spencer, 1st Earl Spencer *John Spencer, 3rd Earl Spencer , British politician*John Spencer, 5th Earl Spencer , British politician...

, a relative of Princess Diana. Although a native of the U.S., the Bauhaus
', commonly known simply as Bauhaus, was a school in Germany that combined crafts and the fine arts, and was famous for the approach to design that it publicized and taught. It operated from 1919 to 1933. At that time the German term stood for "School of Building".The Bauhaus school was founded by...

 designer, Michael van Beuren, established his residence in a family hacienda in Cuernavaca while fleeing the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 where he studied and practiced his profession and a colony of Bauhaus designers grew in the city during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...


Cuernavaca metropolitan area

Cuernavaca always has been a popular place for people from Mexico City to escape the city. In the twentieth century, the climate and flora began to attract many foreigners as well. Population increase in this urban area began in 1940, but the metro area was not created, nor recognized, until the 1960s. From this time the population and the extension of the metropolitan area has grown. From 1960 to 1980, the population had grown from 85,620 to 368,166. From the 1980s to the present, the municipalities of Emiliano Zapata, Jiutepec, Temixco, Tepoztlán
Tepoztlán is a town in the Mexican state of Morelos. It is located at in the heart of the Tepoztlán Valley. The town serves as the seat of government for the municipality of the same name. The town had a population of 14,130 inhabitants, while the municipality reported 41,629 inhabitants in the...

, Xochitepec
Xochitepec is a municipio of the state of Morelos, in central Mexico. Xochitepec is also the name of its principal township and seat of the municipal government...

, and Yautepec have been added to the metropolitan area. These municipalities have seen the highest rates of growth, however, population and economic activity remains concentrated in the city of Cuernavaca proper. As of 2005, the metropolitan area had a population of 802,371, with 349,102, living in the city proper.

Over the decades since 1970, this metropolitan area has become more economically and socially integrated with the Mexico City metropolitan area. Many people from Mexico City own second homes there for weekend retreats, both for the climate and for the well-developed infrastructure. Starting in the 1980s permanent migration of Mexico City residents began, spurred by pollution and crime problems in the capital.

The 1985 Mexico City earthquake
1985 Mexico City earthquake
The 1985 Mexico City earthquake, a magnitude 8.0 earthquake that struck Mexico City on the early morning of 19 September 1985 at around 7:19 AM , caused the deaths of at least 10,000 people and serious damage to the greater Mexico City Area. The complete seismic event...

 also pushed many well-to-do families there, fearful of the next catastrophe. In many of these cases, the main breadwinner commutes each day to work in Mexico City. This has produced the great increase in housing developments on the outskirts of the city, especially in the late 1990s and 2000s. This influx has had a positive economic benefit for the city, but has put pressure on the infrastructure as well. 85% of the city of Cuernavaca is dedicated to housing, and much of this is in upper-class housing developments such as Rancho Cortés, Rancho Tetela, and Colonia del Bosque, which are located on the outskirts of the city. Lower-income housing is concentrated in the city proper. Only 2% of the housing in Cuernavaca is in high-rise buildings. Cuernavaca has been called the "Beverly Hills of Mexico" because from just about any elevation in the city, one can see that many of the homes have swimming pools.

Palace of Cortés

The Palacio de Cortés
Palace of Cortés, Cuernavaca
The Palace of Cortés in Cuernavaca, Mexico, is the oldest conserved colonial era civil structure on the continental Americas, being over 450 years old. The building began as a fortified residence for Hernán Cortés and his second wife Juana Zúñiga...

 is east of the Morelos Garden and is considered to be the most representative building of Cuernavaca. Built by Hernán Cortés, it was finished in 1535. It is one of the oldest European-style, civil constructions in the Americas, but is executed in Renaissance style. The series of arches of the central terrace, the battlements, and the thick walls are the most representative aspects of the original construction. It is said that this residence looks much like the mansion built in Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo, known officially as Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. Its metropolitan population was 2,084,852 in 2003, and estimated at 3,294,385 in 2010. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, at the mouth of the Ozama River...

 by Diego Colón
Diego Colón
Diego Columbus was the 2nd Admiral of the Indies, 2nd Viceroy of the Indies and 3rd Governor of the Indies. He was the firstborn son of Christopher Columbus and wife Filipa Moniz Perestrelo, and was born in 1479/1480 in Porto Santo, Portugal or 1474 in Lisbon, Portugal. He died February...

, the son of Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

. Just outside the front of the building is an old pyramid
A pyramid is a structure whose outer surfaces are triangular and converge at a single point. The base of a pyramid can be trilateral, quadrilateral, or any polygon shape, meaning that a pyramid has at least three triangular surfaces...

 base over which Cortés had the structure built, on a hill that dominated the old city. Petroglyphs recovered from the site and from throughout the city are on display. From right to left the petroglyphs are named Lagarto de San Antón, Aguila de Chapultepec, Piedra Chimalli, or Piedra de los Encantos.

After having been the residence of Cortés and his descendents for several centuries, the building became a warehouse, a jail, a military barracks, and then the State Government Palace (until 1969). From 1971 to 1973, the building was restored extensively and today houses the Museo Regional Cuauhnáhuac, dedicated to the history of Morelos
Morelos officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Morelos is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 33 municipalities and its capital city is Cuernavaca....

 State. It often is referred to as, the Palacio. It has ten exhibit halls with maps, illustrations, photographs, works of art, and everyday items from various epochs representing the first human settlements in the state to the present day. It has murals created by Diego Rivera
Diego Rivera
Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez was a prominent Mexican painter born in Guanajuato, Guanajuato, an active communist, and husband of Frida Kahlo . His large wall works in fresco helped establish the Mexican Mural Movement in...

 that reflect both Morelos and Mexican history. Adjacent to the Palacio a permanent local handicraft market in which one may purchase silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

 jewelry, T-shirts, beaded bracelets, pottery, hammocks, blankets, and much more.

Morelos and Juárez Gardens

The Juárez and Morelos Gardens are in the center of the city, both of which are plazas lined with trees. Between the two is the State Government Palace, a three story building with a tezontle
Tezontle is a porous, extrusive, igneous, volcanic rock used extensively in construction in Mexico. It is usually reddish in color.-Uses:Tezontle can be mixed with concrete to form lightweight concrete blocks, or mixed with cement to create stucco finishes. Tezontle is often used as the top...

 facade built between 1955 and 1969. The Morelos Garden dates from 1908 and is easily recognizable by the large stone statue of José María Morelos, which is known colloquially as "Morelotes". The Juárez Garden is located to the north of the State Government Palace and is the oldest public square in Cuernavaca. The Garden contains a kiosk from England dating from the end of the nineteenth century. Unlike most main squares in Mexico, neither of these open up the way to the main cathedral. The main cathedral in Cuernavaca is located a few blocks west of the square.

These two gardens or plazas are known colloquially as the "zócalo". Spectacles are often to be seen here and can include people dancing the "danzón
Danzón is the official dance of Cuba. It is also an active musical form in Mexico and is still beloved in Puerto Rico where Verdeluz, a modern danzón by Puerto Rican composer Antonio Cabán Vale is considered the unofficial national anthem...

" or other popular dances and "estudiantinas" dressed in colonial-era Spanish garb, playing instruments and dancing, and any number of free concerts. Often clowns perform on the zocalo as well, with balloons and tricks for the children and tell double-entendre jokes for the adults. Locals use the plazas to sell products such as honey, yogurt, traditional candies, and crafts. Street food such as corn on the cob, snow cones, candies, fruit smoothies, and more generally are available.

The cathedral

The Cuernavaca Cathedral
Cuernavaca Cathedral
The Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary of Cuernavaca is the Roman Catholic cathedral church of the Diocese of Cuernavaca, located in the city of Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico...

 is the main church of what was the monastery of the Third Order of the Franciscans, called La Asunción, that dates back to the sixteenth century. It sits on the southeast corner of a large atrium
Atrium (architecture)
In modern architecture, an atrium is a large open space, often several stories high and having a glazed roof and/or large windows, often situated within a larger multistory building and often located immediately beyond the main entrance doors...

, which also contains a number of other chapels that were built at different times and with different architectural styles. This complex is located at the intersection of Hidalgo and Morelos streets, a few blocks west of the town center.

The cathedral was built by Cortés to double as a fortress, with cannons mounted above the buttress
A buttress is an architectural structure built against or projecting from a wall which serves to support or reinforce the wall...

es. Over time, this church underwent a number of transformations, updating its interior. This was undone in the mid-twentieth century, when restoration work removed all the Neoclassical
Neoclassical sculpture
Neoclassical sculpture was a sculptural style of the 18th and 19th centuries. The neoclassical period was one of the great ages of public sculpture, though its "classical" prototypes were more likely to be Roman copies of Hellenistic sculptures. The neoclassical sculptors paid homage to an idea of...

 altars and images. These now are stored in the cathedral's pinacotheca
A pinacotheca was a picture gallery in either ancient Greece or ancient Rome. The name is specifically used for the building containing pictures which formed the left wing of the Propylaea on the Acropolis at Athens, Greece. Though Pausanias A pinacotheca was a picture gallery in either ancient...

 and not available to the public. Restoration work uncovered al fresco murals on the lateral walls, relating to the martyrdom of Philip of Jesus
Philip of Jesus
Saint Philip of Jesus was a Mexican Catholic missionary who became one of the Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan, the first Mexican saint and patron saint of Mexico City....

, the first Mexican canonized as a saint. The only other decoration inside this church now is a modern-style crucifix and an image of the Assumption of Mary
Assumption of Mary
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

. This restoration work was carried out by Bishop Sergio Méndz Arceo.

After the Reform Laws
Reform War
The Reform War in Mexico is one of the episodes of the long struggle between Liberal and Conservative forces that dominated the country’s history in the 19th century. The Liberals wanted a federalist government, limiting traditional Catholic Church and military influence in the country...

 in the 1860s, most of the monastery property passed into state, then private hands, leaving only what is now the cathedral and several smaller chapels on a very large atrium. The Revolution Garden was the orchard of the Cathedral, and the cloister with its observatory, is now the Robert Brady Museum. The church became the Cathedral of Cuernavaca in 1891.
Next to the cathedral is the "open chapel" (capilla abierta) of San José, which is an original structure built in the sixteenth century. It also was rescued and restored by Bishop Méndez Arceo and is one of the oldest constructions on the site. The building consists of a vault with three arches that face the atrium. These arches are supported by a pair of flying buttress
Flying buttress
A flying buttress is a specific form of buttressing most strongly associated with Gothic church architecture. The purpose of any buttress is to resist the lateral forces pushing a wall outwards by redirecting them to the ground...

es. Inside the arches is an altarpiece dating from the seventeenth century.

The main entrance is on Hidalgo street, where one passes between two large chapels called the Chapel of Santa Cruz and the Chapel of the Tercera Orden. The Tercera Orden is considered to be the more valuable artistically of the two, with its highly-sculpted early Baroque
Baroque architecture
Baroque architecture is a term used to describe the building style of the Baroque era, begun in late sixteenth century Italy, that took the Roman vocabulary of Renaissance architecture and used it in a new rhetorical and theatrical fashion, often to express the triumph of the Catholic Church and...

 main and side portals painted in various colors. Inside, there is a later Churrigueresque
Churrigueresque refers to a Spanish Baroque style of elaborate sculptural architectural ornament which emerged as a manner of stucco decoration in Spain in the late 17th century and was used up to about 1750, marked by extreme, expressive and florid decorative detailing, normally found above the...

 main altar. A third chapel, called the Chapel of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores is farther into the atrium and near the Open Chapel of San José.


Teopanzolco is an Aztec archaeological site in the Mexican state of Morelos. Due to urban growth, it now lies within the modern city of Cuernavaca...

 is an archeological site located just east of the historic downtown of Cuernavaca. Its construction is dated to the year 1427, and it was an important ceremonial center during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries when the native Tlahuicas were dominated by the Aztecs. The site shows significant Aztec influence. It has a large pyramidal base, called the Gran Basamento, topped by two shrines, much like the Templo Mayor in Tenochtitlan. Only the stone columns of these shrines remain today. The teocalli
A teocalli is a Mesoamerican pyramid surmounted by a temple. The pyramid is terraced, and some of the most important religious rituals in Pre-Columbian Mexico took place in the temple at the top of the pyramid....

, or sacred plaza, contains fourteen monuments including a circular altar dedicated to the wind deity Ehécatl
Ehecatl is a pre-Columbian deity associated with the wind, who features in Aztec mythology and the mythologies of other cultures from the central Mexico region of Mesoamerica. He is most usually interpreted as the aspect of the Feathered Serpent deity as a god of wind, and is therefore also known...

. There are also two concentric structures separated by a moat or ditch. Both might have been dedicated to Quetzalcoatl
Quetzalcoatl is a Mesoamerican deity whose name comes from the Nahuatl language and has the meaning of "feathered serpent". The worship of a feathered serpent deity is first documented in Teotihuacan in the first century BCE or first century CE...

, the feathered-serpent deity.

Borda Garden

The Borda Garden is located near the cathedral on Morelos Street. Originally, this was a house bought by José de la Borda
José de la Borda
José de la Bordawichilopstli was a French/Spaniard who migrated to New Spain in the 18th century, amassing a great fortune in mines in Taxco and Zacatecas in Mexico. At one point, he was the richest man in Mexico...

, the mining magnate of Taxco in the mid-eighteenth century. Later, his son, Manuel de Borda y Verdugo, transformed the grounds of the house into gardens filled with flower and fruit trees to satisfy his passion for botany
Botany, plant science, or plant biology is a branch of biology that involves the scientific study of plant life. Traditionally, botany also included the study of fungi, algae and viruses...

. These gardens also contain a number of fountains and an artificial lake that were completed in 1783. The complex also contains lodgings, offices, a restaurant, and a nightclub. In 1865, this was the summer home of Emperor Maximilian I and his wife Carlota Amalia. It hosted major political soirees in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, such as those sponsored by Porfirio Díaz and Emiliano Zapata. Today the area is a public park where the gardens have been maintained and it is possible to take a short boat ride on the lake. The house has been converted into a museum. Six of its halls are dedicated to temporary exhibits while the other seven are devoted to recreating the characteristics of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The Church of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is located next to the Borda Garden, and was constructed by Manuel de la Borda in 1784. It has a Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

A facade or façade is generally one exterior side of a building, usually, but not always, the front. The word comes from the French language, literally meaning "frontage" or "face"....

 and what is considered to be the best cupola
In architecture, a cupola is a small, most-often dome-like, structure on top of a building. Often used to provide a lookout or to admit light and air, it usually crowns a larger roof or dome....

 in the city. It was the royal chapel of Emperor Maximilian.

Robert Brady Museum

The Robert Brady Museum is on Nezahualcoyotl Street and occupies the building known as the Casa de la Torre, originally part of the monastery of La Asunción. In 1960, it was purchased by the U.S. artist, Robert Brady, who transformed it into his home and a private art and collectible museum. It contains a collection of art and crafts from around the world as well as the original "Self-portrait with monkey" painted by Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo de Rivera was a Mexican painter, born in Coyoacán, and perhaps best known for her self-portraits....

. Other works are by artists such as Miguel Cobarruvias, Pelegrín Clavé, María Izquierdo
María Izquierdo
María Izquierdo was a Mexican painter. She was born in San Juan de los Lagos in the state of Jalisco; her birth name was María Cenobia Izquierdo Gutiérrez. Her father died when she was five years old and she lived with grandparents afterward in small towns of Aguascalientes, Torreón, and Saltillo...

, and Rufino Tamayo
Rufino Tamayo
Rufino Tamayo was a Mexican painter of Zapotec heritage, born in Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico. Tamayo was active in the mid-20th century in Mexico and New York, painting figurative abstraction with surrealist influences....

. Non-Mexican paintings include those from North America and Europe. Other objects in the collection include antique furniture, African and Indian crafts, and archeological pieces. The collection occupies fourteen rooms of the old house, which has been kept mostly the way it was when Brady died in 1986 and bequeathed the house and its contents to the city.


Tlaltenango used to be a separate town, but now is a neighborhood of Cuernavaca city. The main attraction there is the church compound containing the Church of San José and the Church of Nuestra Señora de los Milagros de Tlaltenango. San José is one of the oldest churches in Mexico, built between 1521 and 1523. Two centuries later an image of the Virgin appeared to members of this village, prompting the building of the second church. This is the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de los Milagros, which was built in 1730, with its bell towers built at the end of the nineteenth century.

Hacienda Atlacomulco

The Hacienta de San Antonio Atlacomulco is located south of the Cuernavaca and was established by Hernán Cortés as one of the first sugar plantations in Mexico. Descendents of the conquistador held the property until the nineteenth century, when it became the property of Lucas Alamán
Lucas Alamán
Lucas Ignacio Alamán y Escalada was a Mexican scientist, politician, historian and writer. He studied at the Real Colegio de Minas de la Nueva España. He frequently traveled on his credentials as a scientist and diplomat, becoming one of the most educated men in Mexico...

, who modernized the facility. The hacienda lost its surrounding properties during the Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

 and all that remains is the main house. After a long period of restoration and modification, the hacienda today houses an exclusive hotel, which can accommodate conventions and banquets.

Museum of Traditional and Herbal Medicine and the ethnicbotanical garden

South of the city center is Acapantzingo, which had been a separate town, but now is part of the city. A large farm owned by Emperor Maximilian I existed there in the 1860s. It was named Olindo, referring to a character in the poem by Torquato Tasso
Torquato Tasso
Torquato Tasso was an Italian poet of the 16th century, best known for his poem La Gerusalemme liberata , in which he depicts a highly imaginative version of the combats between Christians and Muslims at the end of the First Crusade, during the siege of Jerusalem...

. The emperor used this property as one of his residences in Cuernavaca, and according to rumor, to enjoy the company of a certain beautiful Indian woman. On this farm and in what was the Pavilion, is now the Museum of Traditional and Herbal Medicine (Museo de Medicina Tradicional). The museum sponsors workshops and classes on the use of plants to make soap, cremes, dyes, decorative objects, and more. Outside is the ethnicbotanical garden with exhibits including 800 species of plants organized by uses, such as the making of textiles, animal feed, condiments, ritual, and others.

Museo Muros

Located a short distance outside the city center is another art museum called the Museo Muros (Avenida Vicente Guerrero 205, Colonia Lomas de Selva). This museum exhibits the art collection of Jacques and Natasha Gelman. Jacques, a Russian émigré, made his fortune as the producer of hit comedies by the legendary Mexican comic, Cantinflas
Fortino Mario Alfonso Moreno Reyes , was a Mexican comic film actor, producer, and screenwriter known professionally as Cantinflas. He often portrayed impoverished campesinos or a peasant of pelado origin...

. A good portion of the money he made went into the acquisition of art, which he collected for half a century. Works by Rivera, Kahlo, David Alfaro Siqueiros
David Alfaro Siqueiros
José David Alfaro Siqueiros was a social realist painter, known for his large murals in fresco that helped establish the Mexican Mural Renaissance, together with works by Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, and also a member of the Mexican Communist Party who participated in an...

, Francisco Toledo
Francisco Toledo
Francisco Benjamín López Toledo is a Mexican graphic artist. He studied at the Escuela de Bellas Artes de Oaxaca and the Centro Superior de Artes Aplicadas del Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Mexico, where he studied graphic arts with Guillermo Silva Santamaria...

, Rufino Tamayo, Cisco Jimenez, Gerardo Suter, and Juan Soriano
Juan Soriano
Juan Soriano was a Mexican painter and sculptor.Soriano, son of Rafael Rodríguez Soriano and Amalia Montoya Navarro, was born in Guadalajara and displayed his first painting at age 14...

 are among the works that could be found there. This museum was closed in 2008. Opened in its place is the Papalote museo del niño
Papalote museo del niño
The museum Papalote Museo del Niño is located in Mexico City Bosques de Chapultepec. The museum is focused in learning, communication and working together through interactive expositions of science, technology and art for children.-Building:...

 an interactive children's museum with up to thirty exhibitions and artistic experiences for children, such as Mindball, Kandinsky Rug, Gigantic Piano, and others.

Chapultepec Ecological Park

The Chapultepec Ecological Park is located about four km southeast of the Cuernavaca city center. It contains fresh-water springs, which form the beginning of a river, and is surrounded by large trees called Chapultepec. Before 2003, this area was privately operated under concession as the "Magic Jungle". Today, it is a public park administered by the State Commission of Water and Environment. In addition to a large family picnic area with playgrounds, the park has constructed habitats for monkeys, birds, crocodiles, reptiles, and aquatic plants. It also has a petting zoo, environmental museum, planetarium, house of terror, theatre, and tour train.

Sumiya, now Hotel Camino Real

Sumiya is the Japanese-style, extravagant mansion built by Barbara Hutton
Barbara Hutton
Barbara Woolworth Hutton was an American socialite dubbed by the media as the "Poor Little Rich Girl" because of her troubled life...

, heiress to the Woolworth fortune. She chose this place for its climate and "magnetism". The residence was designed and built completely by Japanese artists and architects and includes a replica of the Kyoto
is a city in the central part of the island of Honshū, Japan. It has a population close to 1.5 million. Formerly the imperial capital of Japan, it is now the capital of Kyoto Prefecture, as well as a major part of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto metropolitan area.-History:...

is classical Japanese dance-drama. Kabuki theatre is known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers.The individual kanji characters, from left to right, mean sing , dance , and skill...

 Theater in Japan. Today it has been transformed into the Hotel Camino Real. This hotel was opened in the 1950s.
Another very famous hotel in the city is called "Las Mañanitas" and is the only Relais & Châteaux
Relais & Chateaux
Relais & Châteaux is a global fellowship of individually owned and operated luxury hotels and restaurants. Although the total number or members changes as members are added and others drop away, the group currently has some 500 members in 60 countries on five continents. Strongly represented in...

-associated hotel in Mexico. Its rooms are equipped with fireplaces and chimneys, hand-carved headboards, and gilded artworks. Presidents and royalty have stayed there. Its restaurant is popular with Mexico City residents because of its terraces with flamingo
Flamingos or flamingoes are gregarious wading birds in the genus Phoenicopterus , the only genus in the family Phoenicopteridae...

s, peacocks, and African cranes
Crane (bird)
Cranes are a family, Gruidae, of large, long-legged and long-necked birds in the order Gruiformes. There are fifteen species of crane in four genera. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back...


Restaurante Bar Gaia

The Restauante Bar Gaia is located in an old mansion built at the beginning of the twentieth century. The mansion's pool is reported to have been decorated by Diego Rivera
Diego Rivera
Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez was a prominent Mexican painter born in Guanajuato, Guanajuato, an active communist, and husband of Frida Kahlo . His large wall works in fresco helped establish the Mexican Mural Movement in...

 during the time that Cantinflas
Fortino Mario Alfonso Moreno Reyes , was a Mexican comic film actor, producer, and screenwriter known professionally as Cantinflas. He often portrayed impoverished campesinos or a peasant of pelado origin...

 lived here. Its design includes a pre-Hispanic goddess, executed in Venetian
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

-style mosaic. This design is the basis of the restaurant's logo. For the most part, the original design of the house has been respected. The furniture is modern and the walls are covered in paintings created by contemporary artists from Morelos state. The food served has a mixture of Mexican and international influences. The wine cellar contains Mexican and international vintages.

Chapitel del Calvario

The Chapitel del Calvario is a church located at the corner of Morelos and Matamoros Streets, which was constructed in 1532. The word "chapitel" means "spire
A spire is a tapering conical or pyramidal structure on the top of a building, particularly a church tower. Etymologically, the word is derived from the Old English word spir, meaning a sprout, shoot, or stalk of grass....

" as the church is named after two spires that define its appearance. It also has a fourteen-meter-high dome. It was constructed in the sixteenth century and was the last building encountered within Cuernavaca, as one left the city on the road to Mexico City. In 1772, this church was dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe.

El Castillito

Museo de Fotografía Antigua, also known as El Castillito (the little castle), is located one block from the Chapitel del Calvario. It is a very small brick
A brick is a block of ceramic material used in masonry construction, usually laid using various kinds of mortar. It has been regarded as one of the longest lasting and strongest building materials used throughout history.-History:...

 building that dates from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. It is now a small museum dedicated to antique photograph
A photograph is an image created by light falling on a light-sensitive surface, usually photographic film or an electronic imager such as a CCD or a CMOS chip. Most photographs are created using a camera, which uses a lens to focus the scene's visible wavelengths of light into a reproduction of...

s of the city of Cuernavaca.

Salto de San Antón

The Salto de San Anton is a large ravine with a small waterfall that is located within the city limits of Cuernavaca. The waterfall is 36 meters high, with its water coming from a small tributary of the Zempoala River. The vertical walls of the ravine are of basalt
Basalt is a common extrusive volcanic rock. It is usually grey to black and fine-grained due to rapid cooling of lava at the surface of a planet. It may be porphyritic containing larger crystals in a fine matrix, or vesicular, or frothy scoria. Unweathered basalt is black or grey...

 and broad-leafed vegetation grows in nooks and crannies of the stone. A series of stairs and platforms have been built to enable access to the waterfall area from the park above. Unfortunately, a lot of trash gets dumped there.

Festivals and dance

The Feria de la Flor was established in 1965 as a festival that is held from 2 to 12 May. In the Borda Garden, flower growers from all over Mexico come to exhibit their wares, competing for an annual prize. The event also has traditional fair rides, cockfights, and horse competitions as well as music and sociocultural events. Neighborhood celebrations are held in Cuernavaca, mostly for patron saints, they include include 15 May, the feast of San Isidro Labrador; 13 June, the feast of San Antonio in the neighborhood of San Antón, with Aztec dances; 6 August, the feast of the Savior or the Transfiguration in Ocotepec, featuring the Moors and Christians dance, mole
Mole (sauce)
Mole is the generic name for a number of sauces used in Mexican cuisine, as well as for dishes based on these sauces...

, and pulque
Pulque, or octli, is a milk-colored, somewhat viscous alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant, and is a traditional native beverage of Mexico. The drink’s history extends far back into the Mesoamerican period, when it was considered sacred, and its use was limited to...

; 10 August the feast of San Lorenzo in Chamilpa; 15 August, the festival of the Assumption of Mary in Santa María Ahuacatilán; and 8 September, Festival of Nuestra Señora de los Milagros in Tlaltenango. Since 1965, the city Cuernavaca has had a carnival
Carnaval is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during February. Carnaval typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party...

 as well.

The Huehuechis, a dance group, was started in Cuernavaca in 1870 by a group of young people. They dressed up in old boots and clothes, covering their faces with cloth, dancing sponteaneously in the streets with whistles and shouts. The name comes from a Nahuatl word for old, worn-out clothing. The event spread to other municipalities. It became popular enough among participants and spectators alike to be organized formally in 1871, when it became a traditional way to celebrate the days just before Lent, or the Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday of Carnival. The tradition spread to Tepoztlan, where it became even more famous after the people there modified the clothing worn, adding masks with beards and large mustaches. The dance there was renamed "Chinelos
The Chinelos dance is a traditional dance in the state of Morelos, Mexico in which colourfully dressed dancers dance and wave flags accompanied by set traditional tunes played by a brass band...

". This new version became a fixture at the carnaval of Yautepec and other towns in Morelos as well.

International presence in Cuernavaca

Cuernavaca has been a getaway, especially for the well-to-do, since Aztec times. This has continued to the twenty-first century, with many of these residents including artists, intellectuals, and film stars. For example, María Félix
María Félix
María Félix was a Mexican film actress and one of the icons of the golden era of the Cinema of Mexico and also one of the myths of the Spanish language Cinema for her life style and personality...

, a Mexican diva
A diva is a celebrated female singer. The term is used to describe a woman of outstanding talent in the world of opera, and, by extension, in theatre, cinema and popular music. The meaning of diva is closely related to that of "prima donna"....

, had an opulent, cobalt-blue and papaya-colored villa on Avendia Palmira, along with five other houses. It is known as the Casa de las Tortugas (House of the Turtles) and has Louis XV beds, is adorned with silk brocades, Venetian mosaics, talavera urns, marble fireplaces, sixteenth century Spanish armor, Italian guilded chairs, and portraits of her created by Antoine Tzapoff.

The legalization of gambling
Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods...

 for a short time in the 1930s attracted Hollywood visitors such as Rita Hayworth and mafia
The Mafia is a criminal syndicate that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in Sicily, Italy. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct, and whose common enterprise is protection racketeering...

 figures such as Bugsy Siegel and Al Capone from the United States. Cuernavaca was the setting of Malcolm Lowry
Malcolm Lowry
Clarence Malcolm Lowry was an English poet and novelist who was best known for his novel Under the Volcano, which was voted No. 11 in the Modern Library 100 Best Novels list.-Biography:...

's Under the Volcano
Under the Volcano
Under the Volcano is a 1947 semi-autobiographical novel by English writer Malcolm Lowry . The novel tells the story of Geoffrey Firmin, an alcoholic British consul in the small Mexican town of Quauhnahuac , on the Day of the Dead.Surrounded by the helpless presences of his ex-wife, his...

written in 1947. It is a tale of despair and self-destruction due to alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

. In the 1950s and 1960s, the city attracted many directors, producers, and actors from Hollywood, many of whom had been blacklisted through the influence of McCarthyism
McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. The term has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting roughly from the late 1940s to the late 1950s and characterized by...

. In the 1960s, the city became one of the centers of the psychedelic movement, attracting many artists, composers, and hippies. Another infamous resident was Sam "Momo" Giancana, a mafia boss from Chicago, who made Cuernavaca his home from 1967 until his arrest and deportation in 1974. He was associated with the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre. Many of these foreign residents, famous or not, first come as visitors, but then decide to stay.

The trend continues today, with a large number of retirees, diplomats, business executives, and government officials living in Cuernavaca from all over the world. It still attracts creative and intellectual people. Many of these foreign residents have formed active expatriate groups, such as the Cuernavaca Newcomers Club to offer get-togethers and advice for its members and newcomers to the city. Services for foreign residents include a large network of English-speaking doctors, foreign mass media via satellite, and ATMs networked to U.S. banks.
Cuernavaca is one of the premier destinations to study Spanish in a native culture. This city became popular with students during the 1960s and its popularity has grown since. More than fifty schools are in operation today. Some of the most popular schools include Instituto Chac-Mool, Universidad Internacional-The Center for Bilingual Multicultural Studies, Anders Languages, the Cuernavaca Language School, The Experiencia Centro de Intercambio Bilingüe y Cultural, A.C., and the Cemanahuac Educational Community. Most Spanish language courses are taught by immersion, with optional classes in grammar or conversation, and students may be in class for a full day. Use of English or one's native language is forbidden. Many students have the option of living with a Mexican family while they are enrolled in courses. Students may participate in internships, volunteering at hospitals and other places for college credit.

The deposed Shah of Iran Mohammed Reza Palevi, during his exile, lived for a short time in Cuernavaca.

Cuernavaca also has attracted Hollywood production with parts of the classic 1979 comedy The In-Laws, starring Alan Arkin
Alan Arkin
Alan Wolf Arkin is an American actor, director, musician and singer. He is known for starring in such films as Wait Until Dark, The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Catch-22, The In-Laws, Edward Scissorhands, Glengarry Glen Ross, Marley & Me, and...

 and Peter Falk
Peter Falk
Peter Michael Falk was an American actor, best known for his role as Lieutenant Columbo in the television series Columbo...

, being filmed there.

The municipality

As municipal seat of Morelos, the city of Cuernavaca has governing jurisdiction over 142 other communities. The municipality is located in the northeast portion of the State of Morelos and borders the municipalities of Huitzilac, Texmixco, Xochitepec, Tepotztlán, Jiutepec, and Ocuilan. In the 2005 census, the municipality was recorded as having a total population of 349,102 and only 3,041 are counted as speaking an indigenous language. The city of Cuernavaca is located in the southern portion of the area of the municipality. Urban development covers about 38%, which is the city of Cuernavaca and a few suburbs. The rest of the municipality is isolated towns and villages.

The municipality is located between the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt
Trans-Mexican volcanic belt
The Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt also known as the Transvolcanic Belt and locally as the Sierra Nevada , is a volcanic belt that extends 900 km from west to east across central-southern Mexico...

 in the north and the Sierra Madre del Sur
Sierra Madre del Sur
The Sierra Madre del Sur is a mountain range in southern Mexico, extending from southern Michoacán east through Guerrero, to the Istmo de Tehuantepec in eastern Oaxaca.-Geography:...

 in the south, in a sub-mountain range named the Sierra del Chichinautzin. The municipality contains an area of 151.2 km2. 5,668 hectares is dedicated to agriculture, 8,227 for fishing, 5,400 is developed, and 1,390 is forest. Average altitude is 2,200 meters above sea level, varying between 1,255 and 2355 meters. The highest elevations are in the east and north. The municipality is located in the Amacuzac Basin. Major rivers there include the Ixtapan, Apatlaco, Yautepec, el Pollo, and Chapultepec. There also are a number of small streams and fresh-water springs.


The municipality has two distinct climates. In the north, is a temperate climate that is somewhat moist with rain predominantly in the summer. That area is covered in forests of pine and holm oak
Holm Oak
Quercus ilex, the Holm Oak or Holly Oak is a large evergreen oak native to the Mediterranean region. It takes its name from holm, an ancient name for holly...

. In the south, the climate is warmer with the same moisture pattern. The southern area is primarily grassland with some rainforest. Average annual temperature is 21.1°C (70°F) with the warmest months being April and May and the coldest December. Temperatures rarely exceed 28°C nor fall below 15°C.


Most of the economic activity in the municipality is commerce, concentrated in and around the city of Cuernavaca. Agriculture and fish farming employs the least number of people, although the municipality contains a good quantity of resources for these enterprises. The far north of the municipality generally is not suited to agriculture, due to the terrain and types of volcanic soil found there. Most agriculture is concentrated in the southeast. The lower elevations, at around 1,800 meters, is best-suited for fishing and fish-farming. The middle range, between 1,800 and 2,100 meters, has uses mixed between agriculture and forest products, and the elevations higher than 2,100 are primarily forest. Fish farming areas are under pressure from urban development, especially in the Ahuatepec region east of the city, where irregular and sometimes illegal, housing developments are appearing among the farms.

Industry is minimal and mostly limited to micro-industries such as printing, framing, ceramics, garment-making, and the production of cleaning supplies. This employs about 28% of the population. Most of the population (67%) is employed in commerce and service industry, which includes tourism.

Crafts from this area primarily consist of ceramics and wax
thumb|right|[[Cetyl palmitate]], a typical wax ester.Wax refers to a class of chemical compounds that are plastic near ambient temperatures. Characteristically, they melt above 45 °C to give a low viscosity liquid. Waxes are insoluble in water but soluble in organic, nonpolar solvents...

products. The wax used is from bees and generally it is shaped into capricious figures. Flowerpots and clay objects from San Antón, handcrafted paper from wood chips with multicolored paintings, and wood lacquered masks are other products of the municipality.

External links

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