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Cuernavaca (Spanish pronunciation: [kweɾnaˈβaka] (listen); Classical Nahuatl: Cuauhnāhuac [kʷawˈnaːwak] "near the woods", modern Nahuatl pronunciation (help·info)) is the capital and largest city of the state of Morelos in Mexico. The city is located around a 90 min drive south of Mexico City using the Federal Highway 95D.
The name "Cuernavaca" is an euphonism derived from the Nahuatl toponym "Cuauhnāhuac" and means "surrounded by or close to trees". The name was Hispanicized to Cuernavaca; Hernán Cortés called it Coadnabaced in his letters to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and Bernal Díaz del Castillo used the name Cuautlavaca in his chronicles. The coat-of-arms of the municipality is based on the pre-Columbian pictograph emblem of the city which depicts a tree trunk (cuahuitl) with three branches, with foliage, and four roots colored red. There is a cut in the trunk in the form of a mouth, from which emerges a speech scroll, probably representing the language Nahuatl and by extension the locative suffix "-nāhuac", meaning "near".
Cuernavaca has long been a favorite escape for Mexico City and foreign visitors because of its warm, stable climate and abundant vegetation. The municipality was designated a Forest Protection Zone by President Lazaro Cardenas in 1937 to protect the aquifers, the vegetation and the quality of life of residents both in Mexico City and locally. The city was nicknamed the "City of Eternal Spring" by Alexander von Humboldt in the 19th century. Aztec emperors had summer residences there, and considering its location of just a 1½-hour drive from Mexico City, today many Mexico City residents maintain homes there. Cuernavaca is also host to a large foreign resident population, including large numbers of students who come to study the Spanish langua