Cuernavaca is the capital and largest city of the state of Morelos in Mexico. It was established by the Olmec, "the mother culture" of Mesoamerica, approximately 3,200 years ago and is designated as the archaeological site of Gualupita I. The city is located south of Mexico City, from which it may be reached after a drive of approximately 1½ hours using the D-95 Freeway.
Cuernavaca was designated a Forest Protection Zone by President Lazaro Cardenas in the 1930s 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. It has long been a favorite escape for Mexico City and foreign visitors because of this warm, stable climate and abundant vegetation. Aztec emperors had summer residences there, and today many famous people as well as Mexico City residents maintain homes there. Considering its location of just a 1½-hour drive from Mexico City, Cuernavaca traditionally has been a center of Mexican society and glamour, with many of the country's wealthy citizens owning sprawling mansions and haciendas in this cultural haven. Cuernavaca is also host to a large foreign resident population, including large numbers of students who come to study the Spanish language.
The name "Cuernavaca" is derived from the Nahuatl phrase "Cuauhnāhuac" and means "surrounded by or close to trees". The name eventually was Hispanicized to Cuernavaca. 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".