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 MORELOS State Guide and Directory

Morelos, Central Mexico
Morelos, Central Mexico
Morelos is the second smallest state in Mexico with just 1,911 square miles. It is geographically located on the southern slope of the central Mexican plateau and is bordered by the state of Mexico and the Federal District to the north, the state of Guerrero to the south and the state of Puebla to the east. The land is extremely fertile and has an ideal climate for agriculture with the region producing a wide variety of fruits, grains and vegetables. The state was named in honor of Jos� Mar�a Morelos y Pav�n, one of the heroes of Mexico's War of Independence.

The capital of the state, Cuernavaca, is a beautiful colonial city that is affectionately referred to as "The City of Eternal Spring", due to its year-round temperate climate. Cuernavaca is a popular retreat for the citizens of Mexico City which is
Palacio de Cort�s, Cuernavaca
Palacio de Cort�s
just an hour's drive away. The city has been a magnet for centuries; Her�n Cort�s, upon seizing the city, destroyed its main pyramid in order to build his own monumental palace in its place. Wealthy Spaniards followed, building magnificent haciendas filled with lush gardens and courtyards. Today many of these historical buildings house fine restaurants, hotels and spas. International travelers as well as Mexican nationals visit Cuernavaca specifically for the spa experience as the city is known for its large number of these establishments. Additionally, the city is highly regarded for its excellent language schools and many people come the world over to learn Spanish here.

Xochicalco, Morelos, Mexico
Just outside Cuernavaca is a fabulous pre-Columbian archaeological site definitely worth exploring. Xochicalco (House of Flowers) is located 24 miles southwest of Cuernavaca and is the fourth most visited archaeological site in Mexico, receiving about 800,000 visitors each year. This ceremonial center was occupied throughout its history by different groups including the Toltecs, Olmecs and Aztecs. Xochicalco was an important ancient astronomical center. Priests throughout Mexico would converge here to study the sky, discuss their observations and chart their calendars. There are several structures one can explore, including pyramids, ball courts, ceremonial altars and palaces. The Pyramid of the Plumed Serpent, the site's most popular attraction, features intricate friezes carved in stone. The site was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. Excavations are still ongoing.

Ruins overlooking Tepoztl�n, Morelos, Mexico
Tepozteco Ruins
Another fascinating ancient site to visit while in this region is Tepoztl�n which is located just 28 miles northeast of Cuernavaca. This is the legendary birthplace of the god Quetzalcoatl. The city sits in a valley ringed with steep craggy cliffs that are interspersed with lush green vegetation, providing a truly breathtaking panorama. Flowers grow in abundance here as do palm, pine and cedar trees. Many come to the town to visit its market place which offers exotic fruits, local dishes and great arts and crafts. However, the true draw of this city is its ancient pyramid Tepozteco which overlooks the city. The view afforded from its summit is magnificent. The entire city has a special atmosphere that some describe as mystical and many visitors come here for this very reason. While visiting Tepoztl�n, don't miss trying their famous pastel-hued ice cream which comes in a wide range of exotic flavors.

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