Cuernavaca, also known as the “City of Eternal Spring” due to its mild weather, is only an hour away from Mexico City. The first guests of Cuernavaca are essential characters in the history of Mexico: Hernán Cortés the Conquistador, Maximilian of Habsburg the Emperor of Mexico, the muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros, and the explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, who gave this city its nickname. Here are five reasons why travelers should visit Cuernavaca.
The Hernán Cortés Palace
Hernán Cortés liked so much the climate of Cuernavaca that after settling his affairs in the Conquest of Mexico, he had a palace built in the city to enjoy it with his wife, Juana Zúñiga. It was built over an Aztec pyramid and created in the likeness of the Alcázar de Colón in the Dominican Republic, which is a few years older and was the first building that included a clock in the “New Spain.” This magnificent Palace has been a residence, temple, prison, office of Emperor Maximilian, and a republican government building throughout its history. It is currently home to the Museum of Anthropology of Cuernavaca.
The Cathedral and Zocalo
One of the iconic sites you must visit in Cuernavaca is its majestic Cathedral. In 1525, twelve Franciscan monks arrived in Mexico. They were the first to arrive in the country and founded in present-day Cuernavaca, a monastery in honor of the Assumption of Mary. When the population grew, the monastery was elevated to Cathedral of Cuernavaca by the end of the eighteenth century. This building of massive proportions has semicircular arches on the ground floor, a design similar to the Palace of Cortés. In its courtyard, you can see twelve trees representing the Twelve Apostles, plus an enormous tree, which symbolizes Jesus. Here you can see some frescoes that depict some chapters of the life of St. Francis of Assisi.
Enjoying a day in the zocalo of Cuernavaca will be an experience that will leave you with unforgettable memories. Even though the Cathedral is not located in the town’s central plaza or zocalo, you can stroll through this picturesque plaza and enjoy its many interesting sites. If you spend the day touring the city, once you arrive at the zocalo, you will find all kinds of restaurants to enjoy typical dishes of Morelos and Mexican snacks.
The Government Palace
The Government Palace is located next to the Cathedral of Cuernavaca and dates from the seventeenth century when it functioned as the house of Salvador Cedillo, priest of the city. In 1883 it became the seat of the state government and currently houses the offices of the City of Cuernavaca. Inside the Palace, there are paintings of the history of the state of Morelos, which are open to the public; among the history chapters of this town is the fact that at some point, Cuernavaca was the capital of the Republic. Like the grand palaces of the same era, its galleries have semicircular arches, and inside there are spacious courtyards and corridors.
Teopanzolco Archaeological Site
The Teopanzolco archaeological site located in Cuernavaca was originally a settlement of the Tlahuica people, a civilization that lived in the central highlands of Mexico. Its main architectural remains date between the mid-twelfth and early sixteenth centuries. It comprises a large pyramid surrounded by platforms, which were used to worship their gods and the planet Venus who they called “The Morning Star.” The great pyramid was surrounded by smaller ones dedicated to the lower-ranking gods. The entire Archaeological Zone is very well protected and preserved and a fascinating place to visit.
Spend a night in the forest surrounded by one of the most beautiful landscapes of Morelos. This beautiful place is one of the things in Cuernavaca you should visit, it has seven lagoons, of which you can visit three. You will also be surrounded by lush trees of many types, such as pines, oaks, and oyameles. You can do many activities in this natural attraction of Cuernavaca, such as horseback riding, boating or sailing, hiking, and camping.
Cuernavaca is a beautiful city surrounded by an unparalleled charm that has long delighted national and international tourism. The warmth of its climate and its people make it the ideal destination to spend a long weekend.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com