pronunciation: [moˈɾelos] ( listen)), officially the
Free and Sovereign State of
Morelos (Spanish: Estado Libre y Soberano
de Morelos), is one of the 32 states, which comprise the 32 Federal
Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 33 municipalities and its capital
city is Cuernavaca.
It is located in South-Central Mexico. It is bordered by the states of
México to the north-east and north-west,
Puebla to the east and
Guerrero to the southwest.
Mexico City is situated north of Morelos.
Morelos is the second-smallest state in the nation, just after
Tlaxcala. It was part of the very large province then State of Mexico
until 1869, when
Benito Juárez decreed that its territory would be
separated and named in honor of
José María Morelos y Pavón, who
defended the city of Cuautla from royalist forces during the Mexican
War of Independence. Most of the state enjoys a warm climate
year-round, which is good for the raising of sugar cane and other
Morelos has attracted visitors from the Valley of
Aztec times. Today, many people from
Mexico City spend weekends in the
state or own second homes there, especially in the
The state is also known for the Chinelos, a type of costumed dancer
that appears at festivals, especially Carnival, which is celebrated in
a number of communities in the state. It is also home to the
Monasteries on the slopes of Popocatépetl, a designated World
1.1 Pre-Hispanic period
1.2 Conquest and colonial period
1.3 Independence to end of 19th century
Mexican Revolution to present
2 Geography, climate and nature
5 Economy and tourism
6.2 Music, dance and Carnival
6.3 Art, literature and architecture
8 Transportation and communications
9 See also
12 External links
Temple of the Feather Serpent, Xochicalco
Evidence of the first human inhabitants in what is now
back to 6000 BCE and shows these people as nomadic hunters and
gatherers in the areas of Yautepec and Chimalacatlan. The first
agriculturally based settlements appeared around 1500 BCE in
Tamoachán. Other early finds include clay jars and figures in
the Gaulupita neighborhood of
Cuernavaca and three mounds in Santa
María Ahuacatitlán, which are probably the remains of houses.
The earliest identified culture is the Olmec, which was dominant from
200 BCE to about 500 CE. Evidence of this culture is found in reliefs
such as those found in the Cantera Mountain in
Chalcatzingo and clay
Olmec period, the area was invaded by several waves of
migration from the Valley of
Mexico in the north. The settlement of
Mazatepec is founded in 603 by the
Toltecs . A second wave of
Toltecs established the city-state of
Xochicalco (the City of
Flowers). Their influence is evident in
Teotihuacan at the temple of
Quetzalcoatl, but there are also signs of Mayan,
Mixtec and Zapotec
influences. The last wave of
Toltecs arrived in the 12th
century. There are two groups from this wave. The first to arrive
were the Xochimilcas, who settled in places such as Tetela, Hueyapan,
Tepoztlán and Xumiltepec. Shortly afterwards the
and has settled in an around Cuauhnáhuac or
Cuernavaca by 1250.
There is evidence that indicates the Tlauhuicas probably would have
been expelled from
Morelos by the Xochimilcas if they had not been
protected by Xólotl, lord of Acolhua, who granted territory to
Tochintecutli, the first lord of Cuauhnáhuac. The
believed to be an offshoot of the Toltec-Chichimec group of
Nahuatl-speaking peoples who have occupied the area since the seventh
The Tlahuica eventually became the dominant ethnic group in Morelos.
They were organized into about fifty small city-states each with a
hereditary ruler (tlatoani). Each Tlahuica city-state consisted of a
central town, with its temple, plaza, palace and the surrounding
countryside and villages. The largest of these were
Huaxtepec (now spelled Oaxtepec). These people had advanced
knowledge of astronomy and a highly developed agricultural system.
They were especially known for growing cotton, which was planted
wherever the land could be irrigated. Tlahuica women spun and wove
cloth, which became an important item for exchange and for paying
Aztec began to arrive in the area as early as 1398, but
efforts to dominate this area began in the 1420s. In the 1420s
Jiutepec were conquered by Itzcoatl. In
the middle of the century, other city-states in
Morelos made war on
Cuernavaca and the Aztecs used this as an excuse to conquer
areas such as Yautepec, Tetlama and other locations, eventually
dominating the entire state. The inclusion of the area into the Aztec
Empire was sealed with marriage of
Miahuaxochitl, daughter of the lord of Cuernavaca. This union produced
a son who would become
Aztec emperor Moctezuma Ilhuicamina. These
conquered areas were allowed to keep their local political structures
as long as tribute was regularly paid. This tribute mostly consisted
of cotton items. The territory was divided into two tributary
provinces, one centered on
Cuernavaca and the other centered on
Moctezuma Ilhuicamina succeeded Izcóatl, and tradition has it that he
established a botanical garden in Oaxtepec. He also vacationed in the
warm springs at the foothills of the Ajusco, located in what is now a
resort run by the Social Security Administration (IMSS). Moctezuma's
favorite swimming area is thought to have been a nearby pond called
Mexica built a number of fortifications in the area, notably in
the hills called El Sobrerito and
Tlatoani near Tlayacapan. The
Tepozteco (Tepoztlán) may have also been designed as a
fort and lookout post. During this time, the Tlauhuica built the
double-pyramid known as
Teopanzolco in Cuernavaca.
Conquest and colonial period
Capilla abierta of the current Cathedral of Cuernavaca
Population estimates for the beginning of the 16th century are:
Cuauhnáhuac, 50,000; Oaxtepec, 50,000; Yautepec, 30,000; Tepoztlán,
20,000; Totolapan, 20,000; and 12,000 each for Tlayacapan, Tetela,
Yecapitxtla, and Ocuituco.
The Spanish under
Hernán Cortés arrived into central Mexico. After
Cortés's defeat in
Tenochtitlan (La Noche Triste) and retreat into
Tlaxacala in 1520, he sent expeditions to Morelos. One of the first
Mexicas to accept Spanish authority was in Ocuituco. After the fall of
Tenochtitlan, the Spanish returned to
Morelos to subdue the Tlahuicas
Cuernavaca in 1521, led by Gonzalo de Sandoval. However, the first
attempt failed. The next attempt first took Yautepec,
Jiutepec and after a fierce fight, finally took the city. He
constructed the Palace of Cortés in this city five years later.
In 1529, Cortés was named the Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca, which
gave him control over 4,000 km² of territory in
Cuernavaca as the seat of authority over about eighty communities,
eight haciendas and two sugar cane plantations. These lands stayed in
the Cortés family until 1809, when the government confiscated all of
the lands of the Marquis. There are house-to-house censuses from
the mid-1530s from communities around
Cuernavaca that are the earliest
extant local-level documentation in Nahuatl, likely due to a dispute
between Cortés and the crown about the number of tributaries of the
Marquesado del Valle de Oaxaca. These indigenous censuses make it
possible to establish an early colonial-era base-line for household
structure, land holding, tribute obligations, and rates of baptism and
Historian Ward Barrett considers that the "region now known as Morelos
has a physical unity sufficient to define and set it in strong
contrast to other regions of Mexico." Much of this definition
comes from its geography, which is a basin into which abundant water
flows. The arrival of the Spanish shifted agriculture subsistence
maize production and cotton cultivation to sugar cane and the refining
of such into sugar in nearby mills. Since this sugar competed with
that grown in the
Caribbean by slaves, the hacienda
system was extremely powerful, reducing many indigenous to landless
peasants, dependent on wage labor. This system would remain more or
less intact until the Mexican Revolution.
Independence to end of 19th century
Monument to Morelos
The conditions on the sugar plantations of
Morelos made Father Miguel
Hidalgo's call to take up arms well received by the indigenous and
mestizo populations of the state. The first rebellions broke out in
1811, with some early successes. An early insurgent leader in the
state was Francisco Ayala. Insurgents from the state managed to push
as far as Chalco in what is now
Mexico State when royalist forces
pushed them back in 1812. After Hidalgo was executed, José María
Morelos y Pavon took over the insurgent effort, and Mariano Matamoros
Jantetelco joined this army in 1811.
By 1812, insurgents had control of the city Cuautla and royalist
forces began to put it under siege.
Morelos and his men held out for
58 days when reinforcement arrived, breaking the siege. This was one
of the early vital wins for the insurgent movement.
eventually be captured by royalists and executed in 1815, but the
memory of this battle would lead to the future state being named after
After winning independence, what is now the state of
Morelos was the
Cuernavaca as part of the very large State of Mexico,
created in 1824. The entity would change status between state and
department depending on whether liberal or conservative factions were
in charge. In 1857, the State of
Mexico and all other states would
keep their federal status permanently under the constitution adopted
Cuernavaca gained the title of city in 1834. During the
Mexican–American War, this city was taken by the Americans under
General Cadwalader .
The next conflict to play out in the state was the uprising against
Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio López de Santa Anna under the
Plan of Ayutla
Plan of Ayutla in
1854. Armed rebellion broke out in Cuautla and Santa Anna responded by
burning entire villages. However, the rebellion dislodged Santa Anna,
Juan Álvarez as the president. Alvarez moved the Mexican
capital to Cuernavaca, with many foreign diplomatic missions moving to
the city as well. A new constitutional convention was called and when
1857 Constitution was proclaimed, Alvarez retired and the capital
moved back to
The new constitution did not stop fighting among conservative and
liberal factions in Mexico, which escalated again into the Reform War
from 1858 to 1861.
Cuernavaca was a stronghold of the
conservatives, while Cuautla was a liberal bastion. Anarchy ruled more
than anything else, as bandits roamed the region, burned and destroyed
the haciendas of Pantitlán and Xochimancas, and terrorized villagers.
The war ended on January 11, 1861 when
Benito Juárez took control of
Ignacio Manuel Altamirano
Ignacio Manuel Altamirano wrote a novel, set in Yautepec,
about the war and the bandits, called El Zarco: Episodios de la Vida
Mexicana en 1861–63.
The division between the liberal and conservative parts of the state
remained through the French Intervention in
Mexico . When the
French Army invaded Mexico, Francisco Leyva raised an army in Morelos
to fight in the Battle of
Puebla of May 5, 1862. Despite the heroic
efforts on that day, the French eventually managed to gain control of
the country and install Maximilian of Habsburg as emperor in 1864.
Maximilian chose the Jardin Borda in
Cuernavaca as his summer
residence, and he built "La Casa del Olindo" in Cuernavaca
supposedly for Margarita Leguizmo Sedano, his mistress known as "La
India Bonita." The French emperor improved the roads from Mexico
Cuernavaca and telegraph service between the two began in
1866. However, resistance to French rule was well underway. On
January 1, 1867, republican troops under the leadership of Francisco
Leyva, Ignacio Figueroa, and
Ignacio Manuel Altamirano
Ignacio Manuel Altamirano began an
eight-day siege of Cuernavaca. France, under Napoleon III, withdrew
its troops soon after that, and Maximilian was defeated by Republican
forces and executed.
The state of
Morelos was created in 1868. After the French were
expelled by forces under Benito Juárez, there were efforts to divide
the State of Mexico. This resulted in the creation of the state of
Morelos on 21 September 1868 by the federal Congress of Mexico. The
territory of the state was the Third Military District of the State of
Mexico as defined by the Juárez government. The name of
Cuernavaca were selected by the state's first legislature.
The first state constitution was finalized in 1870. There were
boundary disputes between the new state with
Mexico State and the
Federal District, but these were resolved by the 1890s.
A telegraph line from
Mexico City to
Cuernavaca had been laid between
1867 and 1869; in 1870 it was extended to Iguala, Chilpancingo, and
Tixla. Another line, between
Cuernavaca and Cuautla, was laid in 1875.
Attempts were made to improve education, but limited funds made that
virtually impossible. Other infrastructure projects in the late
19th century included the Toluca-
Cuernavaca highway, and a rail line
Mexico City and Cuautla. Rail lines would continue to be built
into the 20th century, connecting the state further with
and the Pacific Ocean. On May 11, 1874 the capital was moved to
Cuautla; it was returned to
Cuernavaca on January 1, 1876.
The Diocese of
Cuernavaca was established in 1894 with Fortino
Hipólito Vera as the first bishop.
After independence, the sugar industry made
Morelos one of the richest
parts of Mexico. This was the main reason for the infrastructure
projects during the latter 19th century, as much of this sugar was
being exported, mostly to Europe. However, the riches of the
plantations were enjoyed only by often-absentee landowners, with
workers in debt and poverty. During the presidency of Porfirio
Díaz in the late 19th and very early 20th centuries, larger
modernized plantations used steam-driven mills and centrifugal
extractors. This meant that larger plantations were able to demand
more water and crowd out smaller competitors. It also resulted in an
even wider gap between workers and owners. The prosperous landowners
had much political clout under the Diaz regime as production increased
five-fold. This allowed them to apply political pressure to obtain
lands that had previously been held in communially among mestizos and
indigenous groups. Between 1884 and 1905, eighteen towns in
Morelos disappeared as lands were taken by the haciendas.
Mexican Revolution to present
Sugar production, investment in infrastructure and laws favorable to
business and foreign investment allowed
Morelos to participate in the
world economy at the beginning of the 20th century. Economic
development followed very rapidly. Some of the haciendas even evolved
into company towns, employing between 250 and 3,000 workers with their
own stores, powerhouses, schools and police. However, the
development of the haciendas came at the expense of the general
populace, which lost lands and water rights. The growth of the large
haciendas eventually concentrated the economy into 28 haciendas which
occupied 77% of the state's territory.
This situation would make the state ripe for the Mexican Revolution
and the base for one of the best known revolutionaries from this
period, Emiliano Zapata, who was born in the state. Some of the
first outbreaks of violence took place in
Cuernavaca under Genovevo de
la O in 1910. The state fell into the hands of Zapata's Liberation
Army of the South only one year after hostilities broke out in 1910.
Government forces attacked towns and cities in the state, trying to
take it back. It would remain solidly in Zapata's hands until his
death in 1919, despite challenges late in the war to forces loyal to
fellow revolutionary Venustiano Carranza. The Zapatistas imposed a
heavy tax on haciendas; when the owners refused to pay, the rebels
burned the cane fields such as those of Chinameca, Tenango, Treinta,
Atilhuayan, Santa Iñes, and San Gabriel. Zapata's remains are
currently in Cuautla at the foot of a statue erected in his honor.
Since the Revolution, the state's history has centered on development
and crime. There were problems with highway and train bandits in the
1920s and 1930s, and the Buenavista-
Tepoztlán highway was built in
1936. Highway construction eventually led to the closing of a number
of rail lines including the
Iguala line in
As it has been since
Aztec times, the state has been a favorite
retreat for those in
Mexico City, especially Cuernavaca, due to its
warm year-round climate. This has been especially true since the
latter 20th century and has spurred a major housing boom which
continues to this day. Most of this boom is centered on the city of
Cuernavaca but there it also affects Cuautla and some other places as
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the major crime problem was
kidnapping for ransom. The kidnapping crime wave caused investment in
the state to drop from a high of US $245 million in 1999 to $102
million in 2002, with the state lagging behind the country in job
creation. The state broke the kidnapping rings in the early 2000s,
mostly by arresting corrupt lawyers, police and judges who were
protecting kidnapping rings, includes one run by Daniel "Mocha Orejas"
Arizmendi, who received his nickname by cutting off his victims' ears
and sending them to family members. The busts brought the kidnapping
rate to below national average.
The kidnapping problems, however, have been replaced with violence
related to the drug trade, despite the fact that
Morelos is far from
the U.S. border. The 2009 slaying of kingpin
Arturo Beltrán Leyva set
of a turf war for his successor. It has increased the number of gun
battles and gangland-style executions. Anonymous email threats succeed
in keeping people away from
Cuernavaca at night, with bars and
nightclubs closing when such communications threaten drug
violence. In 2004, Governor Sergio Estrada ordered the mass firing
of all of the state police officers after top police commanders were
arrested on charges that they were working with drug traffickers.
This caused a major political battle for the governor, who then
himself was accused of coperating with drug rings, with attempts to
take him out of office. The area around Lagunas de Zempoala
National Park, on Morelos's border with
Mexico City, is one of
Mexico's 16 most dangerous regions, in part due to the narcotics
The state is considered to be one of the most dangerous, despite its
small size and population. Most crime is centered in Cuernavaca. Its
crime rate surpasses that of
Mexico City in terms of crimes per 1,000
people. It is over 50% higher than the national average. Although
Cuernavaca has only 21% of the population, it suffers 45% of the crime
committed in the state. There are a number of possible causes. Some
blame the judicial system for being inept and there are strong links
to the drug trafficking trade, in route to
Geography, climate and nature
Laguna de Zempoala National Park
Field of amaranth in
Temoac with the Cerro del Chumil visible in the
The state is located in the center of the country and has an area of
4,893 km², accounting for 0.25% of Mexico's total
territory. It is the second smallest state after Tlaxcala.
It borders with the Federal District of
Mexico City, the State of
Guerrero and Puebla. The state's capital is Cuernavaca. It
was the largest city of the
Tlahuicas and originally called
Cuauhnahuac, but the Spanish could not pronounce this and modified it
to the current name. This city is only 90 km south of
and due to its gentle climate is referred to as "The City of the
Morelos, most of which is between 1,000 and 3,300 meters (2,900 –
9,800 feet) above sea level, has a very diverse topography: 42% is
mountainous, 16% hilly land, and 42% flat terrain. The highest
altitudes are found near the state's border with
Mexico City, and the
lowest are found in the Huaxtla region. The state straddles two
main geographic formations, the
Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt
Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt in the
north and east and the Sierra Madre del Sur, which stretches south and
Cuernavaca and Jiutepec. The majestic mountain peaks of
Ajusco in the north of the state divide
Morelos from the
neighboring Valley of Mexico.
The state is in the highest part of the
Balsas River basin, which ends
in the north in the areas bounded by the Sierra Ajusco-Chichinautzin
Popocatépetl volcano. From this point south, the state
gradually slopes downward, interrupted by the Tlaltizapan and Yautepec
mountains in the center of the state and the Huautla mountains in the
south. There are no major rivers here but a large number of small
rivers and streams which all eventually feed into the Balsas
The climate and vegetation varies from alpine meadows in the highest
Popocatepetl to lowland rainforest in the south.
Roughly 70% of the state has a humid and relatively warm climate,
especially in the highly populated areas of Cuernavaca, Tepotzlán,
Oaxtepec and Yautepec. Average temperature is approximately
25 °C (77 °F) year round, with a rainy season from May
The climates can be further subdivided: hot and semihumid; semihot and
semihumid; temperate and semihumid; semicold and semihumid; and cold.
The hot and semihumid climate covers about 78% of the state's
territory, with an average temperature of 22C, with rains in the
summer. This area presents mostly subtropical rainforest type
vegetation. The semihot and semihumid climate can be found in a strip
in the north of the state and accounts for 13% of the territory.
Average temperature varies between 18 degrees and 22 degrees Celsius,
with rains in the summer and a dry season in the winter. A temperate
and semihumid climate covers about 10% of the territory and is found
in the north of the state around the municipalities of Huitzilac,
Tetela del Volcán
Tetela del Volcán and parts of Cuernavaca,
Tlayacapan and Miacatlán. This area has an
average temperature of between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius, with mixed
forests of pine and holm oak. A semicold and semihumid climate
accounts for only 2% of the territory and found along the borders of
the Federal District,
Mexico State and Puebla. This area has pine
forests and some alpine meadows. The coldest climate is found in the
upper parts of
Popocatepetl that belong to the state. Average
temperature here is less than 5 degrees Celsius with frequent freezes.
Most of the vegetation is alpine meadow or moss.
The natural resources of the state have been taken advantage of for
centuries and have suffered changes as a consequence, especially in
landscapes, water sources, flora and fauna. This change accelerates as
the population grows. The state has one major national park called
the Lagunas de Zempoala. It is one of Mexico's largest national parks,
located on the southern flank of the Sierra Madre mountains. The park
had five mountain-fed lakes and abundant wildlife when the park was
established in 1937. This park is being stressed due to illegal
logging, with subsequent soil erosion and water from its last dark
blue lake to drainage. Much of this drainage is to provide water to
Cuernavaca, whose population uses 785 liters of water per day per
person, twice that of
Mexico City. The park's area has shrunk from
55,000 acres (220 km2) to 12,500.
Much of the state's ecological woes stem from the housing explosion,
which is mostly centered in the capital of Cuernavaca, but it is a
problem in places such as Cuautla as well. Groups such as the Frente
de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra y el Agua and Guardianes de los
Àrboles have criticized the government for allowing city areas to
grow with insufficient planning and control. They also claim that it
is hurting much of the state's ecosystem and water supply.
Morelos is the second smallest state and ranks 24 out of 31 states in
population, with 1.6% of Mexico's total population. However, it is
ranked third in population density after
Mexico City and the State of
Mexico. 86% of the population lives in urban areas with only 14% in
rural areas. Nationally, the figures are 76% and 24%. Just
under 60% of the state's population lives in seven municipalities,
which are Cuernavaca, Jiutepec, Temixco, Cuautla, Yautepec, Jojutla
and Ayala. The most heavily populated area of the state is the city of
Cuernavaca and its metropolitan area, with 21.95% of the total
population. It is followed by the urban area of Cuautla-Yautepec-Ayala
with just under 20%.
The state has had a higher than average population increase since the
mid-1990s at about 4%. In some areas, population growth has been very
high at points, such as in
Jiutepec (over 21%) and Emiliano Zapata
(over 15%). Much of this growth has been in the main cities of
Cuernavaca, Cuautla, Ayala and Yautepec. This growth has meant the
loss of the state's ability to feed itself, with less than 40% of
grains consumed grown inside Morelos. Population growth has also put
strain on infrastructure such as water, sewer, potable water,
electricity, roads and schools.
The Catholic religion dominates, but there are significant minorities
of evangelical Protestants and those of the Jewish faith.
The indigenous population of the state is estimated at 8%, just under
the national average of 10%.(perfilsoc) However, only 2% of the
population is counted as speaking an indigenous language compared to
7% nationally. The total counted in 2005 by
INEGI was 24,757.
Nahua peoples have dominated the state. This
population severely diminished during the colonial period and again
during the Porfiriato (late 19th and early 20th century), when many
indigenous peasants were sent to other parts of the country to work.
Those considered to be ethnically indigenous are located in 33
municipalities with most concentrated in 15 of these. Many identify as
Tlapaneco and Zapotec who have immigrated from Puebla,
Guerrero and Oaxaca. Most of those who identify as Nahua are native to
the state. Many of the immigrant indigenous are migrant workers,
traveling among fields of sugar cane, corn, tomatoes and onions. Some
return to their home states in the off-season and some remain
permanently in Morelos.
While indigenous languages have almost completely disappeared since
the Conquest, many old customs and traditions continue to live on as
part of many people's identity. Many ethnic Nahuas conserve much of
their ancient knowledge, such as dances, music agricultural practices
and rituals, although most are mixed with Catholic and moderns beliefs
and practices. Since Mexico's census only counts the indigenous by
language spoken and not by ethnicity, it is not possible to be sure of
the precise number of Nahua in Morelos. Between 32 and 35 communities
in the state have been identified as being "indigenous" based on
prevailing customs and tradition. However, this does not take into
account migrant workers or who have immigrated to the state from other
parts of Mexico. In 2000, 30,896 people were counted as speaking an
indigenous language, with the municipalities of Cuautla, Cuernavaca,
Ayala, Puente de Ixtla,
Temixco and Tetela del Volcàn having the
highest number of speakers.
Of the eleven municipalities which are classified as highly
marginalized economically, only three have a significant indigenous
Miacatlán and Tetela del Volcán). However,
within larger municipalities such as
Cuernavaca and Jiutepec,
indigenous communities tend to be highly marginalized.
State Government Palace in Cuernavaca
Congressional Building in Cuernavaca
The state is governed by an elected governor, who has a cabinet with
four departments called "Policy, Security and Justice," "Human and
Social Development," "Sustainable Economic Development" and
"Development and Modernization of the Administration." . The state
Congress in is charge of passing laws and revising those already in
existence. It is unicameral with thirty "deputies" (diputados)
representing various portions of the state.
Morelos is currently subdivided into 33 municipios (municipalities).
On November 9, 2017, the state legislature approved the creation of
four indigenous municipalities, which will take effect on January 1,
Aside from the state capital of Cuernavaca, nicknamed La Ciudad de la
Eterna Primavera (The City of Eternal Spring), other major communities
Yautepec de Zaragoza
Economy and tourism
See also: Economy of Mexico
Field in Jojutla
The economy of
Morelos is based on agriculture, tourism and
urbanization. Since the 1960s, the economy has been shifting from
agriculture to industry and commerce. However, most of these shifts
have occurred on a small scale and a number of municipalities are
still almost completely reliant on agriculture. While the state
provides just 1.6% of the country's GDP, its economy is strong enough
to attract workers, especially farm workers from other areas of the
country. However, a large percentage of the state's population
works six days a week, receiving wages of only 500 to 700 Mexican
pesos ($46–$65USD), despite the fact that
Morelos is one of the more
expensive states to live in.
Economically, the state divides into seven districts. The Cuernavaca
Region includes the municipalities of Cuernavaca, Temixco, Emiliano
Jiutepec and Xochitepec. The Norte Region includes the
municipalities of Huitzilac, Tepoztlán, Tlalnepantla and Totolapan.
The Cuautla Region includes the municipalities of Atlatlahucan, Ayala,
Cuautla, Tlayacapan, Yautepec and Yecapixtla. The Noreste Region
includes Ocuituco, Temoac,
Tetela del Volcán
Tetela del Volcán and Zacualpan de
Amilpas. The Sureste Region includes Axochiapan, Jantetelco,
Jonacatepec and Tepalcingo. The Sur Region includes Amacuzac, Jojutla,
Puente de Ixtla, Tlaltizapán,
Tlaquiltenango and Zacatepec de Hidalgo
and the Poniente Region includes Coatlán del Río, Mazatepec,
In 2003, it was one of the first states to take advantage of a new law
allowing states to sell bonds. In 2002, the state sold $24 million
USD worth of bonds on the Mexican stock market in order to finance
highways, schools, waterworks and other infrastructure projects. The
bond sales also allowed the state to access lower-interest long-term
Due to its location near
Mexico City, the state has one of the lower
rates of economic marginalization, ranking 20th of 33 units in
economic marginialzation, based on housing and education. The most
urbanized areas of the state are the strongest economically, with the
least urbanized being the poorest. Two of the factors in the
development of the state's economy since the 1960s are the opening of
Acapulco highway through the state in 1952 and the
creation of the CIVAC (Ciudad Industrial Valle de Cuernavaca)
industrial complex in 1965. This concentrated the population growth
into the northern part of the state. Eleven of the state's 33
municipalities are considered to have a serious degree of
marginalization: Tlalnepantla, Totolapan, Tlayacapan, Tetela del
Volcán, Ocuituco, Zaculapan, Temoac, Tepalcingo, Amacuzac, Coatlán
Miacatlán and some parts of Puente de Ixtla.
Cucumber field in Tlayacapan
Since the 1980s, the agricultural sector of the economy has been
steadily shrinking but it remains an important part of the state's
economy, as there are still a significant number of communities that
rely on it. Just under 20% of the working population of the state
is involved in farming, ranching, fish farming or forestry. Land
available for human exploitation outside of populated areas is divided
between agriculture/grazing (45%) and forestry (55%). Agricultural
and forestry lands are further subdivided by climate and the type of
forest (conifer vs. rainforest). Roughly 70% of the state has a
subtropical climate, providing ideal conditions for agriculture, in
particular sugar cane, and most farming is done in the warmer
Sugar cane has been an important crop since colonial
times and still is important today, although the percentage of land
dedicated to it has decreased since the 1960s. Another important crop
is rice. The production of rice in the state has fallen
drastically, from a height of 100,000 tons annually to only 21,000
tons due to the reduction in cultivation areas and the high costs of
production. The state still ranks sixth in its production. However,
despite price and market protections, foreign rice is competing with
Mexican grown rice, including rice produced in the state. Sorghum
has replaced lost yields of sugar cane and rice to a certain extent,
which has been encouraged by the government. One way the state
tries to sell its more expensive products such as rice has been the
registration of a trademark calledTradición Agrícola de Morelos
Morelos Agricultural Tradition) to identify products produced in the
state on store shelves.
Another important cash and export crop is fresh flowers and ornamental
plants. In 2003, this sector accounted for 27 million dollars of
income to the state, up from 20 million in 2000.
Mexico's major producers of roses, producing 54,552 dozens in
Morelos claims to be the native location of the poinsettia,
called noche buena in Spanish. It is native to Mexico, but there has
been a "diplomatic patent" on the plant since the early 19th century
when the first US ambassador to Mexico, Joel Roberts Poinsett,
registered it. The state's historical society has asked the Secretary
of the Interior to review treaties and work to have this patent
annulled. As it stands now, Mexican poinsettia growers must pay
royalty fees to the U.S. and even import cuttings from authorized
growers in the U.S. to grow the plant commercially. Another effort to
combat the patent is to develop a new variety of the flower that would
not be covered.
Along with corn and beans grown for subsistence, other fruits and
vegetables are widely grown. These include bananas, cherimoyas,
mameys, melons, cucumbers, tomatillos, jicama, squash, alfalfa,
cotton, peanuts, onions and tomatoes. Many crops are grown for
autoconsumption, especially in indigenous areas. The state is
working to help shift agriculture production from the traditional corn
and beans, which can be imported cheaper, to other products such as
apricots, which have been shown to make money. Livestock mostly
consists of cattle, pigs, horses and domestic fowl. There is some fish
farming in the state, mostly of mojarra and tilapia in Rodeo and
Industry, mining and construction accounts for 29% of the state's GDP
and employs 27% of the working population. Food processing
(especially sugar came, rice, sorghum and grains) represents an
Goods produced include automobiles and auto parts, textiles,
pharmaceuticals, metal products, agro-industry, ceramics and
handcrafted items. Most exports go to the United States, Canada, Japan
European Union . In the early 2000s, the state attracted a
number of foreign enterprises to build industrial facilities here,
includes car parts such as windshields.
There are two major industrial parks in the state, Ciudad Industrial
del Valle de
Cuernavaca (CIVAC) and Parque Industrial de Cuautla
(PINC) . CIVAC is located in the municipality of Jiutepec. It was
created in 1966 and is considered to be the most important economic
development in the state. Today the park is home to 108 businesses,
35% of which are transnational. The Parque Industrial de Cuautla
is located outside of the city. It occupies 113 hectares, with about
40% of this available. The industrial park suffered major fire
damage in 2007. In 2009, the government intervened with plans to
revive the park and improve its infrastructure with a budget of 240
The Desarrollo Industrial
Emiliano Zapata is the newest park, located
Cuernavaca in the municipality of Emiliano Zapata. It has
an extension of 23.5 hectares. One of its principal occupants is the
Nu Start clothing manufacturer. Another is the
Emiliano Zapata Central
de Abastos wholesale food market.
Commerce, transportation, services and tourism accounts for 59% of the
GDP and employs just over 50% of the working population.
The growth of the commerce sector is due to urbanization and the
growth of tourism. The biggest selling point of the state
touristically is its location, just south of
Mexico City, which has
the largest and wealthiest population in the country. Many of these
people come to spend the weekend in Cuernavaca's nightclubs and away
Mexico City's traffic and pollution. Many of these visitors
have bought second homes here, which has driven property prices
up. Those from
Mexico City and other cities are also attracted to
the states water parks and spas, such as Las Palmas in Tehuixtla, El
Rollo and the Parque Acuatico Oaxtepec.
Panoramic view of Tepoztlán
The state, especially around the capital of Cuernavaca, has
experienced a housing boom since the late 1990s. More than 10,000
houses were built from 2000 to 2008 and another 50,000 are planned
through 2013. The state's office of urban development states that this
is far above what is needed to house the state's population. Instead,
it reflects demand from
Mexico City for weekend and getaway homes. The
housing boom has put strain on infrastructure and on property
The Secretary of Tourism for the state promotes the cities of
Cuernavaca, Tepoztlán, Tlayacapan, Xochicalco, Cuautla and
Tequesquitengo. As the center of the state's history and culture,
the city of
Cuernavaca has landmarks and attractions such as the
Palacio de Cortés, where
Hernán Cortés centered his enterprises of
the Marquesado del Valle de Oaxaca, and now the site of murals by
Diego Rivera; the
Morelos and Juárez Gardens, the Cuernavaca
Cathedral, and the Borda Garden. The various Spanish language
Cuernavaca also attract foreign students, many from the
Tepoztlán is another area that many people from
Mexico City visit
during the weekends. Tepoztlan is a "New Age" town famous for its
pyramids and "revitalizing energy." It was named a "Pueblo
Mágico" in 2002. It is home to one of the Monasteries on the slopes
of Popocatépetl, a World Heritage Site.
Tlayacapan is located in
the northeast part of the state, just south of
Mexico City. It is
a rural area, with a way of life that has not changed much over the
20th century. Ninety percent of its population is still partially or
fully dependent on agriculture. The town has old mansions, houses with
red tile roofs and streets paved with stones. Many ravines crisscross
the area and are crossed by numerous stone bridges. It is also home to
the San Juan Bautista Monastery and 26 chapels built in the colonial
View of Agua Hedionda
Cuautla is the second largest city in the state and was the site of
one of the early major battle of the
Mexican War of Independence
Mexican War of Independence and
Battle of Cuautla
Battle of Cuautla during the Mexican Revolution. The center of the
town is home to the Municipal Palace and the Santo Domingo Church. One
major attraction is the
Morelos House, where
José María Morelos y
Pavón lived. Near the city are various spas and waters parks such as
the Agua Hedionda, famous for its foul-smelling sulfur-laden
waters. The original town of is now located under Lake
Tequesquitengo, which was created when the area was flooded by damming
the local river. Only the bell tower of the town church is visible.
The lake is 3 km by 4.5 km and is used by visitors for
watersports and weekend getaways.
The state has a number of archeological sites, the largest and most
important of which is Xochicalco. It was founded by Mayan traders
known as the Olmeca-Xicallanca, later inhabited by the Tlahuica and
designated as a World Heritage Site. Its best known structure
is the Temple of
Quetzalcoatl . The site of
Teopanzolco is within
the city of Cuernavaca. It was a ceremonial center of the Tlahuicas,
which was modified in the 15th century by the Mexicas. The site has
large plazas and circular buildings. The most important temple is the
Twin Temples (Templos Gemelos), similar to the
Templo Mayor in Mexico
Tepozteco is located on a mountain ridge 600 meters over the
town of Tepotzlán. It was built between 1150 and 1350 CE and
dedicated to Ometochtli-Tepoxtécatl, the god of pulque, fertility and
harvests. Today, the mountain area in which it is located is the El
Tepozteco National Park, which was established in 1937.
Monastery of San Juan Bautista in Tlayacapan
Monasteries on the slopes of Popocatépetl
Monasteries on the slopes of Popocatépetl is a World Heritage
Site that consists of fourteen monasteries south and east of Mexico
City. Most are in the state of Morelos, with three in the state of
Puebla. The monasteries in
Morelos are located in the municipalities
of Atlatlahucan, Cuernavaca, Tetela del Volcán, Yautepec, Ocuituco,
Tepoztlán, Tlayacapan, Totolapan,
Yecapixtla and Zacualpan de
Amilpas. The three in
Puebla are located in Calpan, Huejotzingo and
Tochimilco . The state promotes the monasteries as the "Route of the
Monasteries" or the "Route of the Volcano." Most, but not all, of
these monasteries are located on the periphery of the Popocatepetl
volcano. This area also has varying landscapes, a wide variety of
flora and fauna as well as churches, former haciendas, archeological
sites and ruins.
Culturally, the state divides into four sections called Zona Norte,
Zona Oriente, Zona Sur Oeste and Zona Centro. Zona Norte is linked to
the Valley of
Mexico and includes the municipalities of Cuernavaca,
Tepoztlán, Tlalnepantla, Totolapan, Atlatlahucan, Yecapixtla,
Ocuituco and Tetela del Volcán. Zona Oriente is linked to
includes the municipalities of Zacualpan de Amilpas, Jantetelco,
Jonacatepec and Axochiapan. Zona Sur Oeste includes the municipalities
of Tlaquiltenango, Jojutla, Zacatepec, Puente de Ixtla, Amacuzac,
Coatlán del Río, Tetecala,
Mazatepec and Miacatlán. Zona Centro
includes the municipalities of Temixco, Yautepec, Jiutepec, Emiliano
Zapata, Ayala, Tlaltizapan and Axochiapan.
Most of the state's traditional music is associated with corridos. The
corridor is sung and played in many parts of Mexico. Those performed
Morelos belong to the "sureño" (southern) type, which can be
complicated but, unlike the northern version, is not meant for
dancing. The lyrics of this type of corrido generally have eight
syllables per line forming stanzas of five verses each. This type of
corrido dates back before the Mexican Revolution, but the tradition
has waned. One band noted for saving traditional melodies and songs is
the Banda Tlayacapan, based in
Tlayacapan in the north of the state.
This band was formed in 1870 and is the state's oldest band
organization. In popular music, the best known composer from the state
is Arturo Márquez, who was born in Samosa, Sonora, but has lived in
Cuernavaca for a long time. He is known for his danzones.
Music, dance and Carnival
One tradition that is identified with the state of
Morelos is the
Dance of the Chinelos.The dance is popular on many occasions but
especially during Carnival. The origin of the dance or tradition
is not known. One story dates the origin to 1870, when a group of
youths decided to dress in old clothes, covering their faces in cloth
to shout and jump around in the streets. Other stories place the
origin in the colonial past, either as a syncretism between Spanish
and indigenous dances, or as a protest or mockery of the indigenous'
Spanish overlords. However, it has clearly been identified as
Tlayacapan and later spreading to various parts of
Puebla and the Federal District of
Today, the Chinelo is a symbol of the identity of the state. Although
Chinelos are most frequently found in Tepoztlán,
exist in many communities such as Yautepec, Oacalco, Cualtlixco,
Jojutla and Totolapan. They can also be
found in certain parts of Puebla. The
Chinelos dance in groups near
each other. Each dancer has his or her own style that has been
developed since childhood.
Although not as well known as the
Carnival of Veracruz, a number of
communities in the state hold
Carnival celebrations in the days
leading up to Ash Wednesday. These include Jiutepec, Tlaltizapán,
Emiliano Zapata, Tepoztlán, Tlayacapan, Yautepec, and Xochitepec.
What distinguishes carnivals in
Morelos from others in
Mexico is the
participation of the
Chinelos and bands with wind instruments. In
Tepotzlan on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, the traditional tianguis
market is cleared away from the main square and hundreds of
multicolored stands move onto the streets in order to make way for
Carnival. The street stands mostly specialize in items needed to enjoy
the event. Chinelo dancers dominate the event, many in costumes which
have been very expensive to assemble. Other events during Carnival
here are processions, including the principal one in which there are
representatives of all the communities of the municipality. The events
last from Sunday to midnight Tuesday, signaling the beginning of Ash
Wednesday and Lent. Each day, the
Chinelos dance more energetically
than the last.
Art, literature and architecture
Exterior of the Robert Brady Museum in Cuernavaca, known for its
collection of handcrafts and folk art.
Most of the state's art scene dates from the 20th century. After the
Mexican Revolution, and partly because of state's role in it, a number
of muralists came to the state and painted works with social themes in
places such as the
Palacio de Cortés
Palacio de Cortés and the Museo de la Tallera
Siqueiros. Because of the state's mild climate and Cuernavaca's
cultural tradition, many Mexican and foreign artists and writers have
made the state home.
Joy Laville is from Wight, England and resides in
Cuernavaca. She is known for her landscapes which often include nude
humans. Some of her works are Mujer viendo una casa, Mujer en perfil
and Mujer con flores. Jorge Cázares Campos is a native of the state
who is a self-taught painter, mostly of Mexican landscapes. Rafael
Cauduro was born in
Mexico City and his artwork has brought him fame
not only in
Morelos but internationally as well. Magali Lara is also
Mexico City and has had shows in various countries.
Morelos native Carlos Campos Campus is known for his sculpture with
pre-Hispanic influence. Writers include Malcolm Lowry, an Englishman
who wrote Bajo del Volcán in the first half of the 20th century. It
is set in
Cuernavaca and made the city internationally famous. Elena
Garro is an important Mexican writer originally from Puebla, but who
lived most of her life in Cuernavaca. She is known for works such as
Los recuerdos del porvenir, El Árbol and Andarse por las ramas.
Another Mexican transplant to
Cuernavaca is Franciso Hinojosa, one of
the best known authors of children´s literature in the country.
Major architectural works in the state date from the pre-Hispanic
period to the 19th century. The most important pre-Hispanic structure
are found at the
Teopanzolco archeological sites. The
first is a city that was built on top of a large hill, with the Temple
Quetzalcoatl as its center. This temple is really a pyramid with
Toltec influence with four columns in the center.
Teopanzolco has a pyramid with twin temples, as it was built by the
[Aztec]safter they conquered the area. After the [Spanish conquest of
Aztec Empire], major constructions here were Christian instead of
the native pagan. In the first half of the 16th century, a series of
fortress-like church and monastery complexes were built around the
slopes of the
Popocatepetl volcano from
Cuernavaca to Tetela del
Volcán, and on into
Puebla state, all related to early evangelization
efforts. Today, these monasteries are no longer used as such, although
most of the churches associated with them remain active, and are now a
World Heritage Site. Non-ecclesiastical buildings from the colonial
and independence periods were mostly confined to the capital of
Cuernavaca and include the Palacio de Cortés, the Borda Gardens and
Morelos and Ocampo Theaters. Much of the rest of the state was
divided into large haciendas, many dedicated to sugar production, with
large senorial mansions for their owners. Some of these include
Hacienda de Chiconcuac,
Hacienda de San Gaspar and
Ixtoluca. One notable 20th-century structure was the Japananese style
house built by Woolworths heiress Barbara Hutton, just outside the
city of Cuernavaca.
Pestalozzi School in Cuernavaca
The state, especially in the
Cuernavaca area, is known as a center of
education, second to
Mexico City. The state has a high percentage of
educated and well-traveled people, many of whom speak second languages
such as English, French and German.
Modern education in the state began during the Reform period, with the
Mexican government taking over educational responsibilities from the
church. The government's role in education expanded after the Mexican
Revolution. In Morelos, the government founded "Casas del Pueblo"
(People's Houses) staffed with a teacher for the community to become a
central figure. In 1936, the Escuela Regional Campesina (Farm Workers'
Regional School) was established in Yautepec and a short time after
Lázaro Cárdenas founded the Escuela Normal Feminina
de Palmira (Palmira Teachers College for Women) and the Instituto
Federal de Capacitacion del Magisterio for those to earn or complete
their teaching credentials.
Until 1991, education was rigidly centralized and bureaucratic,
causing difficulties in providing adequate education to many areas. In
1992, the Instituto de la Educación Básica (Basic Education
Institute) was created to change this. This divided basic education
into preschool, special education, primary and secondary and it
provided guarantees for a minimum.
Today over 360,000 students are taught by over 13,000 teachers in 823
schools up to the eighth grade. All municipalities are required by
state law to provide preschool, and grade school education to their
populations up to the eighth grade, as well as professional
development for teachers. All are required to attend school up to the
eighth grade. Most schoolchildren begin with at least one year of
preschool or kindergarten and secondary school (middle school) is
provided either through face-to-face classes or through
"telesecundarias" with televised classes in the more rural areas.
Secondary schools are also divided into general and technical schools.
The state has four teachers' colleges, two which produce primary
school teachers and two which produce secondary school teachers.
The state education system provides education from preschool to high
school, vocational-technical education, as well as higher education to
the doctoral level. There are also "centros de capacitacion" or
training centers for workers looking to improve basic skills or gain
technical skills. The average number of years of schooling
completed is 8.4 years (second year of middle school), with the
national average at 8.1.
There are a total of 32 institutions of higher education in the
state. Many schools have set up campuses in
Cuernavaca to escape
Mexico City and the state is encouraging this. One of these schools is
The origins of the
Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos
Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos (UAEM)
date back to the 19th century, when governor Francisco Leyva founded
the Instituto Literario y Cientifico de
Morelos in 1871. It was mostly
suspended shortly thereafter by President Porfirio Díaz, a political
opponent of Leyva, leaving only the School of Agriculture and
Veterinary Studies in Acapantzingo. It was revived under the name of
Instituto de Estudios Superiores del Estado de
Morelos by Governor
Elpidio Perdomo and President Lázaro Cárdenas. It was reorganized
under its current name in 1953, after the addition of more fields of
study. Currently, the school offers forty bachelor's degrees.
Transportation and communications
Telecommunications in the state include telegraph, mail service,
telephone, rural telephone service, terrestrial and satellite
television, telex, and internet.
Rural telephone service is available via satellite in the
municipalities of Amacuzac, Ayala, Puente de Ixtla, Jojutla,
Tlaltizapan and Tlaquiltenango.
Morelos operates a public television station,
XHCMO-TV Channel 3 in
Cuernavaca, with a repeater, XHMZE-TV channel 22 in Zacatepec.
Cuernavaca also has other terrestrial television stations available,
some local and others repeaters of
Mexico City-based stations.
Morelos is the most-connected state in terms of roadways, with highway
connecting all of its communities. It has one of the highest densities
of roadways in the country. There are also a number of rail lines that
Cuernavaca airport west of the city has a 3.8 kilometres
(2.4 mi) runway for modern passenger and cargo jets. The
airport was expanded to make it possible to commute between Cuernavaca
and cities such as
Chicago and Los Angeles.
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^ Justino Miranda (December 20, 2004). "Mexican authorities looking to
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Universal]". NoticiasFinancieras. Miami. p. 1.
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^ a b "DESARROLLO INDUSTRIAL / PARQUES INDUSTRIALES:" [Industrial
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^ Miguel Àngel García (November 19, 2009). "Rescata Adame el parque
industrial Ayala-Cuautla" [Adame rescues Ayala-Cuautla industrial
park]. La Jornada de
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^ "Balnearios en el Estado de Morelos, Parques Acuáticos" [Spas and
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Morelos. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
^ Raúl González (June 23, 2008). "Sufren en
Morelos suffers chaotic growth]. El Norte (in Spanish).
Monterrey, Mexico. p. 17.
^ "Destinos en Morelos" [Destinations in Morelos] (in Spanish).
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^ a b Romo, pp. 6–20
^ "Estado de
Morelos Tlayacapan" [State of
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^ Adalberto Rios Szalay (February 1, 1998). "Llegan los carnavales:
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much flavooor!]. Reforma (in Spanish).
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^ a b c César Martínez Ramón (February 16, 2006). "De Carnaval por
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^ Romo, pp. 61–62
^ Romo, p. 87
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^ "Earliest 16th-Century Monasteries on the Slopes of Popocatepetl".
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center east]. Reforma (in Spanish).
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Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos. Retrieved September 9,
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^ w9wi: Television stations in Morelos
Jimenez Gonzalez, Victor Manuel, ed. (2009). Morelos: Guia para
descubrir los encantos del estado [Guanajuato: Guide to discover the
charms of the state] (in Spanish).
Mexico City: Editorial Oceano de
Mexico SA de CV. ISBN 978-607-400-230-0.
Romo, Luis (2006). "La ciudad de la eterna primavera" [The city of
eternal spring]. Rutas Turisticas:
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Secretaria de Educación Publica. Morelos: Monografía estatal: 1982.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Morelos.
Geographic data related to
Morelos at OpenStreetMap
Morelos State Government Site (in Spanish)
Morelos Mac with travel, cultural, archeology, etc. (in Spanish)
Morelos Travel portal tourist information, municipal, cultural,
archaeological, and so on. (in Spanish)
Air Video of Tequesquitengo,
Xochicalco and El Rodeo
Morelos in Mexico, portal events and tourist attractions, municipal,
cultural, archaeological, and so on. (in Spanish)
State of Morelos
Coatlán del Río
Puente de Ixtla
Tetela del Volcán
Yautepec de Zaragoza
Zacatepec de Hidalgo
Zacualpan de Amilpas
States of Mexico
Baja California Sur
San Luis Potosí