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Introduction

Morelos is one of the 31 states in Mexico. 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 crops. Morelos has attracted visitors from the Valley of Mexico since Aztec times. Today, many people from Mexico City spend weekends in the state or own second homes there, especially in the Cuernavaca area.

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 Heritage Site.

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Geography

Morelos, most of which is between 1,000 and 3,300 metres 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 in the north and east and the Sierra Madre del Sur, which stretches south and west from Cuernavaca and Jiutepec. The majestic mountain peaks of the Sierra 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 and the 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 River.

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Sights and Activities

Popocatépetl

Popocatepetl volcano in activity

Popocatepetl volcano in activity

© All Rights Reserved marianojf

Popocatépetl is an active volcano located in the heart of Mexico, about 70 kilometres southeast of the capital Mexico City. The mountain has been climbed since a long time ago. The Tecuanipas tribe is said to have climbed it in 1289, followed by the Spanish in the 16th century. Literally meaning the 'smoking mountain', it is the second highest peak in the country and on one of those rare clear days it can be seen from the higher parts of Mexico City. Popocatépetl is one of the only three mountains in Mexico that has glaciers near the summit. Popocatépetl has had over 20 eruptions in modern history, with the eruptions of 1994, 1996, 2004 and 2005 (still continuing as at 2009) [1] being the most recent ones. In the 1996 eruption, tens of thousands of people were evacuated by the government based on the warnings of scientists. The volcano then experienced its worst eruption in thousands of years. Popocatépetl is one of the only three mountains in Mexico that has glaciers near the summit.

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Events and Festivals

Day of the Dead

Although the Day of the Dead is also celebrated in many Latin American countries (and also in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa), the Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is most intensily celebrated in Mexico where it is equal to a National Holiday. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. Although it is about the Dead, it is also a celebration where eating and partying both are common as well.

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Weather

The climate and vegetation varies from alpine meadows in the highest elevations near 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 year round, with a rainy season from May until September.

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 22 °C, 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 and 22 °C, 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, Tlanepantla, Totolapan, Tetela del Volcán and parts of Cuernavaca, Tepoztlan, Ocuituco, Tlayacapan and Miacatlán. This area has an average temperature of between 10 and 15 °C, 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 °C with frequent freezes. Most of the vegetation is alpine meadow or moss.

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References

  1. 1 Eruptive History - Popocatépetl - Global Volcanism Program. Natural Museum of Natural History. Smothsonian Institute. Retrieved on 2009–08–02.

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