Mexico - February 2012

North to Cuernavaca & Mexico City

Photos by Walt & Gloria Fogler-Mancini

 
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Driving from Oaxaca to Mexico City takes a bit longer than most estimates.  The scenery is not very interesting south of Cuernavaca.  Most of these pictures were taken from the car at 50 mph.

The second highest peak in Mexico, the volcano Popocatépetl, could be seen from the road.  It is 17,802 ft. high and still active.

Hernán Cortés built his palace in Cuernavaca on top of an Aztec pyramid in the 16th century. During the conquest of New Spain, a series of fortress-type monasteries were built near Popocatépetl to evangelize and subdue the indigenous population.  The monastery, now a cathedral, was begun in 1529.

The skull and cross- bones to the right are a symbol of the Franciscan order that built the monasteries.

Now, Cuernavaca is known as the “city of eternal spring” because of its fine climate and numerous getaway haciendas and spa resorts.  Its historic center does not have the colonial beauty of other cities. The American artist and collector Robert Brady settled there in the 1960‘s. His house had been a 16th century convent next to the monastery, then the bishops’ residence, and now, it is Museo Casa Robert Brady.

The Catedral de Cuernavaca and its chapels were most recently “refurbished” in 1960. The shade of pink chosen for one chapel’s exterior is not well liked.  However, a 4,300 square foot mural from the 17th century was uncovered: it tells the story of 24 missionaries that were crucified in Nagasaki, Japan.

We stayed in Mexico City for a day and spent our time in the large park, the Bosque de Chapultepec. It has a long history, beginning as a sacred site in pre-Columbian times.  It was the residence of the Aztec emperors and has been a park since 1530. It encompasses 1800 acres and has many attractions and is very popular for many reasons.

The Museo de Arte Moderno is in the park and is surrounded by a large sculpture garden.

The Castillo de Chapultepec was built in 1787 on the highest hill in the park.  It became a military academy in 1842 and six cadets died in 1847 when it was stormed by U.S. troops.  Later it was the residence for Mexico’s rulers and is still used for state events.

David Siqueiros’ multi-room mural “From the Porfiriato to the Revolution” is in the castle.  It has been the Museo Nacional de Historia since 1939. 

To the left is a city view from our hotel window.