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Palace of Cortés de Cuernavaca: everything you need to know

The Palacio de Cortés in Cuernavaca is one of the oldest colonial structures in Mexico. It is an extraordinary fortified palace whose construction dates back to the beginning of the 16th century.

This imposing construction was intended to be the home of Hernán Cortés and his family in the “New World”. Want to know more about her? Well keep reading, because then we will tell you.

A little history

Hernán Cortés is one of the best-known characters in world history.. And it is that his participation as the conqueror of America left many traces. One of them is the Palace of him in Cuernavaca, a fortified residence built on the ruins of Tlatlocayacalli, the place where the cacique received tribute from the population.

Work on this palace began in 1526, and by 1529 it was finished. Right now, Hernán Cortés and his family settled there after leaving Mexico City, where they had previously been residing. However, that was not only its function, as it was also used as a warehouse, prison and seat of government, among others.

The Palace of Cortes in Cuernavaca

The structure presented by the Palacio de Cortés in Cuernavaca is that of a fortified palace. With a rectangular floor plan, it has 2 large modules divided by an arched central body, something reminiscent of the Viceroyalty Palace of Columbus in Santo Domingo from 1514.

On its main façade, open to a square, It has a double gallery that serves as an entrance and also as a place of communication with the outside, because in the rest of the building we hardly find openings. Meanwhile, the rear facade has a larger arcade gallery that would serve to control the land and gardens that existed behind the palace.

Built in stone, its robustness is impressive and only a few details remind us that it is a palatial residence. In the right module, a central patio in the form of a cloister gave light to the rooms in that wing, while the other module is closed.

In 1930, the palace was the object of the works of the muralist Diego Rivera. Thus, today we can enjoy his work The history of Morelos: conquest and revolution. A few years later, in 1938, it would be the Spaniard Salvador Tarazona who would represent scenes from the pre-Hispanic and independence era.

The Anthropological Museum of Cuernavaca

Currently, the Palace of Cortés in Cuernavaca is the seat of the Cuahnáhuac Museum, an anthropological museum with the most important historical record of the state of Morelos. In it you can see numerous archaeological objects from the different excavations carried out in the area.

Thus, on this ground floor of the museum, you can learn about the development of the beginning of civilization, the beginning of agriculture and the sedentarization of the first settlers of Cuernavaca.

The exhibition continues to show the first empires and cities, as well as their complexity, including their systems of social organization and government. This stage covers until the last 3 centuries before the arrival of the Spaniards to the American continent.

The upper floor of the museum exhibits how the cultural exchange between the Spanish and the American aborigines was. Likewise, it shows how the process of conquest and evangelization was carried out in this territory.

In this part of the museum you can see relics and old objects that illustrate life at that time. Likewise, the difference between the different social classes, the landowners and the peons and slaves is analyzed. They were all important protagonists in the War of Independence and in the formation of its exponents, such as the Mexican hero José María Morelos y Pavón.

Another part of the exhibition focuses on the Marquesado del Valle de Oaxaca, awarded to Cortés and the different industries such as cotton, silk, candle making, horse breeding and sugar, its most important industry. On one of its terraces, the one that points to the Popocatepelt volcano, you can see murals by Diego Rivera.

As you can see, the Palacio de Cortés in Cuernavaca is a great place to visit. Is about a place to learn the history of this region first hand, both from the pre-Hispanic era as well as the colonial and republican ones. It is a visit that you cannot miss if you pass through the state of Morelos.

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