South of Mexico City

The regions south of Mexico City have always played host to forces of colonial wealth and power. The city of Cuernavaca, home to the fortress-like palace of Cortés, was a favourite retreat of Aztec nobility long before Spain's aristocracy moved in. Punctuated by palatial gardens and grandiose mansions, this 'city of eternal spring' is today a haven for intellectuals, artists, expats and the wealthy classes. It's also a popular spot for learning Spanish, with a wealth of language schools that cater to crowds of foreign students. Further south lies the city of Taxco, reminiscent of the Mediterranean with its haphazard cobblestone streets, flower-swathed houses and superlative mountains views. Built from the wealth of prodigious silver mines, the city remains a bastion of fine metalcraft with superb jewellery on sale in its many shops and markets. But the provinces south of the capital are a stronghold of indigenous heritage, too. The town of Tepoztlán is home to a thriving culture that has inspired generations of anthropologists. At the village of Ixcateopan lie the remains of the last Aztec emperor, Cuauhtémoc, venerated as a holy relic. Whilst at the ruins of Xochicalco, where an ancient solar observatory drew calendar-makers from all over Mesoamerica, the lingering spectre of ancient Nahua history pervades the stunning mountaintops.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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