Cuernavaca Tourist Attractions
How to get thereFrom Mexico City: by bus (about 1.5 hours) or car via the MEX 95Cuernavaca, state capital of Morelos, lies barely an hour's drive south of Mexico City.
Its mild subtropical climate, myriads of brightly- coloured flowers and city centre full of old colonial charm make it a popular place of escape for people from the capital, adding to the large proportion of its residents who are retired. Recently however, creeping industrialisation and ever greater numbers of visitors have tended to mar the city's once rather intimate atmosphere.History Cuernavaca (Náhuatl: Cuauhnáhuac = "near the trees") has a long Old Indian history, believed to date back to the Olmecs. From about ad 1200 it was the capital of the Tlahuica (Náhuatl: "people of the earth") who were subjugated by the Aztecs under Itzcóatl early in the 15th c. Even before that there is some suggestion of an association - most likely simply mythical - between the Aztec chief Huitzilíhuitl and Miahuaxihuitl, daughter of the ruler of Cuernavaca, a man famous for his supernatural powers. The future mighty Aztec ruler Moctezuma I was allegedly born out of this relationship. Right up until the Spanish Conquest the Aztecs maintained magnificent summer residences in Cuernavaca.The Spaniards under Hernán Cortés seized and sacked Cuauhnáhuac in 1521. After the Emperor Charles V deprived him of his political power, Cortés stayed on in the city for a long while as Count of Cuerna-vaca, before finally returning to Spain in 1540. In the colonial period the Spanish upper class greatly enjoyed visiting Cuernavaca, and the Emperor Maximilian and his wife Charlotte took up residence there on several occasions during their short reign (1864-67). In the course of the Mexican Revolution (1910-20), the rebellious peasantry led by Emiliano Zapata - who, with his cry of "Tierra y Libertad" (Land and Liberty), demanded redistribution of the huge landed estates - razed many haciendas in the surrounding area.From 1936 to 1938 the English author Malcolm Lowry (1909-57) lived in Cuernavaca at Calle Humboldt 15. Using its old name he made the city the setting of his novel "Under the Volcano", published in 1947.
Cuernavaca Cathedral dates to 1520, when it was a Franciscan friary. Restoration work in the 1950s led to the discovery of early murals showing Mexican Franciscan friars.
The Jardín Borda (Borda Garden), diagonally opposite the cathedral, was laid out in the second half of the 18th c. by José de la Borda, the so-called "silver king" from the mining town of Taxco. The park, restored most recently in 1987, contains terraced gardens, ponds, fountains and an open-air theatre. During their brief reign (1864-67) it was used by the Emperor Maximilian and his wife Charlotte for garden parties. The Casa de Maximiliano (restored 1960) in the Calle Galeana was the imperial couple's summer residence.
Address: Avenida Morelos 271, Mexico
Opening hours: 10am-5:30pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Mexican Constitution Day (Día de la Constititución) (Feb 5), Mexico - Benito Juárez Birthday (Mar 21), Mexico - Battle of Pueblo Day (May 5), Mexico National Day (Sep 1), Mexican Independence Day (Sep 16), Mexican Revolution Day (Nov 20), Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe (Dec 12), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in MXN: Adult $5.00
Casa Robert Brady
Formerly a private house, the Casa Robert Brady (C. Netzahualcóyotl 4) now contains 1300 works of art including items from the pre- Columbian and colonial periods, pictures by Frida Kahlo and Rufino Tamayo, and examples of American, African and Asian art.
The Museo Taller occupies Calle Venus 7. Here, together with his companion Angélica Arenal, the artist David Álfaro Siqueiros spent the last nine years of his life. On display are unfinished murals, photographs and other memorabilia.
Be sure to make the short journey (1.5km/1mi) south from the city centre to visit the Casa Olinda (also known as the Casa del Olvido) in the one-time village and now suburb of Alcapatzingo. The house, still enjoying a tranquil almost rural setting, was built by Emperor Maximilian as a pied-à-terre to be shared with "India Bonita", his Indian mistress. Today the park contains a herb museum (Museo de la Herbolaría).
Salto de San Antón
Salto de San Antón, a waterfall in picturesque surroundings with a 30 m (98 ft) high cascade, can be seen on the western edge of the city.
Cuauhnáhuac Regional History Museum (Palacio Cortés)
Situated not far from the Plaza Principal (Zócalo or Plaza Morelos), the Palacio Cortés, begun in about 1530 but later altered several times, was once Cortés' residence and administrative headquarters. The first floor loggias offer splendid views of the city and its environs. The Palacio now houses, among other things, the Cuauhnáhuac regional history museum, documenting the history of the Cuernavaca area. Among many items of interest are the famous murals by Diego Rivera, commissioned by the then U.S. ambassador Dwight Morrow, father-in-law of the transatlantic flyer Charles Lindbergh, and painted in 1929 and 1930. They depict scenes from the Conquest, the history of Cuernavaca, the War of Independence and the Mexican Revolution. The image of Emiliano Zapata leading Hernán Cortés' white horse symbolises the people's re-appropriation of the land.
Teopanzolco (Náhuatl: "abandoned temple"), a pre-Columbian site dating from late post-Classic period (1250-1521), is located on the north-east outskirts of the city, near the railway station. It was discovered only in 1910 when, following fighting between government troops and Zapata-led rebels, traces of a wall were left uncovered by an exploding shell. The complex, a last relic of the old capital of Tlahuica and typically Aztec in style, comprises two pyramids of different age, superimposed one upon the other. A double external stairway ascends to the top of the pyramid where the remains of walls belonging to two temples (to Huitzilopochtli and Tláloc) can still be seen. Embedded in the walls are primitive animal heads, worked in stone and at one time stucco-covered. Smaller pyramids were dedicated to Ehécatl (the god of wind) and Tezcatlipoca ("smoking mirror").
Jardín Etnobotánico y Museo de Medicina Tradicional
This was once the home of Emperor Maximilian. It is now owned and used by the local chapter of the Mexican National Institute of Archeology and History. The museum is housed in the Casa de la India Bonita (House of the Pretty Indian Girl), the gardens of which are home to a collection of medicinal plants.
Santuario de Tlaltenango
Shrine of Tlaltenango: San Jerónimo and Nuestra Señora de los Milagros comprise the Santuario de Tlaltenango. These two churches were built between 1521 and 1523. Milagros features a Baroque façade.
La Tallera Casa Estudio de David Alfaro Siqueiros
About 50km/31mi south of Cuernavaca the Tequesquitengo crater lake and, on the east shore, the village of Tequesquitengo itself (914 m (3000 ft); population: 7000) lie surrounded by lush subtropical vegetation. A whole range of watersports are catered for on the lake.
16km/10mi north-east of Tequesquitengo the village of Tlaquiltenango boasts a monastery founded by the Franciscans in around 1530 but taken over by the Dominicans 40 years later. Note in particular the atrium and posas (processional chapels), also the side portal with a colonial-Plateresque faáade similar to that of Cuernavaca Cathedral.
Map of Cuernavaca Attractions