The Palace of Cortés in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, built between 1523-1528, is the oldest conserved colonial-era civil structure in the continental Americas.
The architecture is a blend between Gothic and Mudéjar, typical of the early 16th century colonial architecture.
The building began as a fortified residence for conqueror Hernán Cortés and his aristocratic second wife, Doña Juana Zúñiga. It was built in 1526, over a Tlahuica Aztec tribute collection center, which was destroyed by the Spanish during the Conquest.
Cortés replaced it with a personal residence to assert authority over the newly conquered peoples.
As Cortés’s residence, it reached its height in the 1530s, but the family eventually abandoned it due to on-going legal troubles. In the 18th century, colonial authorities had the structure renovated and used it as a barracks and jail.
During the Mexican War of Independence, it held prisoners such as José María Morelos y Pavón.
Cuernavaca is the capital and largest city of the state of Morelos in Mexico. The city is better known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its magnificent weather.
The name was Hispanicized from Cuaunahuac to Cuernavaca; as Hernán Cortés used to call it.
The Palace of Cortés houses the Museo Regional Cuauhnáhuac, dedicated to the history of Morelos State.
Source: Gobierno del Estado de Morelos
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