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Cortes Palace - Historical Building Cuernavaca - Mexico

From about 1519-1521, Hernan Cortes and his ruthless band of conquistadors laid waste the mighty Aztec Empire, bringing Central Mexico under the control of Spain and sending the King uncounted tons of gold and silver in the process. For his efforts, Cortes was rewarded with a noble title and vast lands of his choice.

The new Marquis set himself up in style in Cuernavaca and built himself a fortress on the ruins of an Aztec temple to protect him from the natives he was supposed to “civilize.” He resided there for many years, traveling back and forth to Mexico City as needed.

Over the years, the well-built castle (also known as the Cuaunahuac Museum) has served many different purposes, from warehouse to government building to prison to post office. During the chaotic nineteenth century, it even served for a brief time as the home of the national government when events in Mexico City forced legislators to move out.

Today, the massive fortress is a museum housing artifacts and relics from Mexico's history like paintings, cannons, pre-Colombian artifacts and stonecarvings, etc. There are good displays about periods in Mexican history such as the revolution.

Of particular interest is a famous mural on the second floor, done by the greatest of the muralists, Diego Rivera. It tells the story of the conquest of the Aztecs as well as the independence movement and revolution: look for a self-portrait of Diego as Miguel Hidalgo, the father of Mexican Independence.

Also of interest is a good bookstore accessible from outside the main entrance, and there is usually a table outside with ministry of tourism workers handing out maps and pamphlets to tourists.

The only disappointment in the Cortes Palace is the lack of Cortes. There are no traces left of the original owner and it's impossible to imagine what the palace was like when the famous conquistador lived there. There is a bit about him, but no more than any other historical figure.

Cuernavaca, Mexico

Historical Building Types:
Historical museum

Getting There
The Cortes Palace is a block off the main square and impossible to miss. 

Open Hours from:9

Open Hours to:6

Days Closed:Mondays

Contact Information:

By Christopher Minster
I am a writer and editor at V!VA Travel guides here in Quito, where I specialize in adding quality content to the site and also in spooky things like...
06 Nov 2009

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