The list of those who have owned summer homes in Mexico includes presidents, Aztec emperors, Hernando Cortés, Archduke Maximilian and his wife Carlota, Taxco “silver king” José de la Borda and any number of affluent Mexico City residents. And these homes all have one location in common: Cuernavaca (kwehr-nah-VAH-cah). The capital of Morelos is a city of mountain views, pastel-colored buildings with red-tiled roofs and gardens lush with tropical vegetation (although many are hidden behind high walls). Benevolent weather not only nourishes the greenery but provides Cuernavaca with the nickname “city of eternal spring.”
At Mex. 95 and Avenida Fundadores a grand equestrian statue pays tribute to Emiliano Zapata, the leader of the Revolution of 1910. Zapata's battle cry of “Land and liberty, and death to the haciendados” struck at hacienda owners throughout the country. His Plan de Ayala, aimed at agrarian reform, was signed near Cuautla on Nov. 28, 1911. In 1914 Zapata briefly joined Pancho Villa in occupying Mexico City before returning to Cuernavaca to prevent its seizure by federal troops.
Plaza de Armas, the main square, is shaded by flowering trees and dotted with park benches. Both the plaza and adjoining Juárez Garden (Jardín Juárez) are pleasant spots to relax over coffee or enjoy a Sunday band concert. The plaza teems with vendors, especially on weekends when stalls set up selling handicrafts, jewelry, balloons and every conceivable kind of trinket.
The Flower Fair (Feria de la Flor), held the first week in April, is a colorful and aromatic event that features garden-themed exhibits and competitions as well as a sound-and-light show staged at the main plaza. This also is a good time to visit the Borda Gardens, which has special horticultural displays in honor of the fair.
On the outskirts of town in the suburb of Acapantzingo is the Olvido House, Maximilian and Carlota's summer home. The restored structure is now the Museum of Traditional and Herbal Medicine (Museo de Medicina Tradicional y Herbolaria). There's a botanical garden on the grounds as well. The museum is open Monday through Friday, and admission is free; phone (777) 312-3108 for more information.
Morelos State Tourism Office (Subsecretaría de Turismo) Avenida Morelos Sur CUERNAVACA, MR . Phone:(777)314-3872