Mexico City is far from the only place in Mexico where the Spanish conquistadors razed Aztec settlements and built their own cities. It seems like the same is true of many parts of the country – especially in areas where Hernan Cortes, the most famous conquistador, traveled. Although Cortes lived in Mexico City for some time, he eventually moved out to Cuernavaca, where he hoped to headquarter an encomienda through which he would rake in many tributes from the locals.
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A Palace Built on Ruins
Although Cuernavaca is only about 55 miles outside of Mexico City, it feels like it’s a world away. By visiting this fascinating place, which is the capital of Morelos state, you can explore the Palace of Cortes. Through the years, the Palace of Cortes has served many functions; today, it’s a museum where you can learn a lot more about a pivotal period in Mexican history. Unsurprisingly, the Palace of Cortes was built on the ruins of an important Aztec site, where the lordship of Cuauhnahuac were located. Construction began in 1526; local inhabitants were put to work on it – many, undoubtedly, against their will. As with many places in Mexico, the Palace of Cortes is a stark reminder of the brutal force of the conquistadors in this beautiful land. Through the years, the palace has served as a prison, a Catholic church and as a palace of the Mexican Republic. Today, it’s a museum that focuses on the history of the state of Morelos.
Take in Rivera’s Compelling Mural
The muralist Diego Rivera produced many incredible works during his lifetime. Many art historians agree, though, that his work at the Palace of Cortes is among his most important. The mural is located on the second floor of the palace and is called Historia de Morelos, Conquista y Revolucion. It depicts the conquest and revolution of the state of Morelos. You are sure to be blown away by the grandeur of the mural, so make sure to set aside enough time to take it in properly. The Palace of Cortes is a worthwhile place to include on any visit to Cuernavaca.