Municipality and City
La Ciudad de las Flores
("The City of Flowers")
|Declared as a city||1791|
|o Mayor||Dr. Pedro Hipólito Rodríguez Herrera (MORENA)|
|o Federal Deputies||Cuitláhuac García Jiménez (MORENA), Adolfo Hernández (PRI)|
|o Local Deputies||Tanya Carol Viveros Chávez (MORENA), Daniela Ceballos (MORENA)|
|o Municipality and City||118.45 km2 (45.73 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,417 m (4,649 ft)|
|o Municipality and City||525,147|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (CST)|
Xalapa (often spelled Jalapa, Spanish pronunciation: [xa'lapa] ; ; officially Xalapa-Enríquez [xa'lapa en'rikes]) is the capital city of the Mexican state of Veracruz and the name of the surrounding municipality. In the 2005 census the city reported a population of 387,879 and the municipality of which it serves as municipal seat reported a population of 413,136. The municipality has an area of 118.45 km2. Xalapa lies near the geographic center of the state and is the second-largest city in the state after the city of Veracruz to the southeast.
The name Xalapa comes from the Classical Nahuatl roots x?lli [?a:l:i] "sand" and ?pan [a:pan] "place of water", which means approximately "spring in the sand". It's classically pronounced [?ala:pan] in Nahuatl, although the final /n/ is often omitted. This was adopted into Spanish as Xalapa.
The complete name of the city is Xalapa-Enríquez, bestowed in honor of a governor from the 19th century, Juan de la Luz Enríquez. The city's nickname, City of Flowers (Spanish: La ciudad de las flores), was given by Alexander von Humboldt, who visited the city 10 February 1804. The reference is also related to the city's older colonial history. According to folklore, the Spanish believed that Jalapa was the birthplace and home of the world's most beautiful woman, la Florecita, which literally means "little flower". The residents of Xalapa are called Xalapeños or Jalapeños, which is the name given to the popular large peppers cultivated in this area.
The Totonacs first established themselves around Macuiltepetl ("fifth mountain" in Nahuatl). This extinct volcano received its name because the Aztecs used it as the fifth reference mountain to get to the gulf of Mexico's shores. Today it is preserved in a park. During the 14th century, four indigenous peoples settled in the territory today known as Xalapa. Each built a small village: Xalitic (in the sand) was founded by the Totonacas; Techacapan (river of waste) was founded by the Chichimecas; in the northeast Tecuanapan (river of the beasts) was founded by the Toltecas, and Tlalnecapan was founded by the Teochichimecas.
Around 1313, the four villages grew together and joined, forming one large village named Xallapan. Moctezuma Ilhuicamina, the fifth Aztec emperor, invaded the territory during the second half of the 15th century. All the land was ruled as part of the Aztec Empire before the arrival and conquest of the Spanish conquistadores.
When the Spanish invaded, Xalapa was barely populated. The population rose after the conquest and colonial settlement. When the Spanish improved the Mexico-Orizaba-Veracruz route, Xalapa declined in importance as a transport hub, and its population stagnated in the 17th century.
From 1720 on Xalapa became increasingly important, due to trade with merchants from New Spain arriving to buy and sell the products of the peninsula. Numerous Spanish families from the nearby towns settled in Xalapa, so by 1760 the population had increased to over 1,000 inhabitants, including mestizo and Spanish. Among local items of commerce were botanical medicines particularly ipomoea purga source of a drug known in English as Jalap. The growth of Xalapa in population, culture, commerce and importance, increased dramatically in the 18th century. Responding to residents' requests, Carlos IV of Spain declared Xalapa a town on 18 December 1791.
In 1772, construction of Xalapa Cathedral began. On 18 May 1784, José María Alfaro got the first air balloon in the Americas, airborne, in Xalapa. Due to the abundance of flowers growing in the region, Alexander von Humboldt, who visited the town on 10 February 1804, christened it the "city of the flowers".
On 29 November 1830 by decree, Xalapa was named a city. In 1843, Don Antonio María de Rivera founded the Normal School of Xalapa to train teachers. Today it operates as a preparatory school for students going to college.
In 1847 in the Mexican-American War Santa Anna attempted to defeat the opposing forces near Xalapa in the Battle of Cerro Gordo. He led an army of more than 12,000 soldiers. Mexican troops suffered many casualties; around a thousand were killed and three thousand wounded on 18 April 1847. The US invaders occupied the city the following day. Among them was Lt. Ulysses S. Grant, later the commanding general of the Union armies in the American Civil War. Grant's letters call Jalapa "decidedly the most beautiful place I ever saw in my life" and its climate "the best in the world."
Xalapeños such as Ambrosio Alcalde and Antonio García fought bravely to defend the city of Veracruz, but were taken prisoner. They were released and paroled, but after rejoining the fighting against the US, they were recaptured near Teocelo, taken to Xalapa, sentenced to death and executed on 24 November 1847. Today these two men are remembered as martyrs. An obelisk commemorates their sacrifice, between San Jose Church and Alcalde Market, named for Ambrosio Alcalde. US forces marched on to capture Mexico City and departed after the Treaty of Guadaloupe Hidalgo.
In November 1862 Xalapa was attacked in the French invasion; foreigners temporarily took control of the state capital. On 27 November 1867 the corpse of emperor Maximilian I of Mexico, who had been executed in Querétaro, arrived and was held in San José, attended by the priest José María y Daza, then transferred to Veracruz the following day. The remains were shipped back to Austria for burial.
In 1885 General Juan de la Luz Enríquez increased the influence of Xalapa when he moved some legislative authority from Orizaba to Xalapa, in accordance with a decree issued in June 1884 by provisional Governor Juan Manuel Fernández de Jáuregui. Enríquez and Swiss teacher Enrique C. Rébsamen in 1886 founded the Normal School in Xalapa, the first school of this type in the country.
Enríquez died in 1892, but the construction of the Normal School and founding of its other schools led to Xalapa becoming known as a center of learning, the "Athens of Veracruz".
Xalapa is a thriving center for commerce and many multinational companies have large retail stores and franchise restaurants in the city. These include Wal-Mart, Superama, Sam's Club, The Home Depot, Liverpool, Sears, Costco, Office Depot, Office Max, Oxxo, Sanborns, C&A, McDonald's, Domino's Pizza, Pizza Hut, Subway, Starbucks, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Little Caesars, Hugo Boss, Pull and Bear, Carl's Jr., Prada, Tous, MINISO, etc.
Xalapa also has a number of cinemas, some of them of substantial size, such as the Cinepolis Museum (10 screens), Cinepolis the Americas (16 screens), and other cinemas, such as XTreme Cinemas in Crystal and Cinetix in Plaza Animas, which is a local movie theater. There are also several retail malls in Xalapa: Plaza Crystal, Plaza Museo, Plaza Animas (L.A. Fashion), Plaza Américas, and Plaza los Arcos.
Many people in Xalapa are employed by the government, since it is the state capital. Xalapa is also the head one of the five regional sections of the Tribunal Electoral (a level below the Supreme Court). This area encompasses 7 states: Campeche, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Veracruz and Yucatán. The other regional seats are Mexico City, Toluca, Monterrey and Guadalajara.
Xalapa is known as the "Athens of Veracruz" because of the strong cultural influence of its major university, Universidad Veracruzana (the main public university in the State of Veracruz). General Enriquez is known for policies encouraging the educational system in Xalapa.
Culturally, Xalapa has a wide variety of events associated with its theatres, museums, and street art. Many musicians and dancers frequently perform in the center in the nights, especially on special occasions and events of celebration or commemoration; they often dance the fandango.
Art has a keen following in Xalapa. The gallery, Pinacoteca Diego Rivera, located near the City Hall and Parque Juárez in downtown, has the most numerous collection of Diego Rivera's paintings in all of Mexico.
Feast day of San José, Feast of Santiago Apostle, Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Jesus, Conception of Maria, and Expo-Fair International are all celebrated in the city. An important religious holiday is on 8 December, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, celebrating Mary the Mother of God patroness of the city. On 24 October San Rafael Guizar and Valencia are celebrated, with thousands of people from all over Mexico visiting their tomb that is in a chapel within the cathedral. The cathedral remains open all night and day during this event.
Xalapa is the place of origin of the famous Jalapeño peppers. Dishes made with maize: gorditas, tostadas, pasties, enfrijoladas, and chicken are common. The desserts that are consumed in the region are typically sweet such as cake and cocadas and craft candies like candied fruit, dulce de leche and jamoncillo.
Theatres and auditoriums
Xalapa also has many sporting facilities. As of 2005, the city has 25 soccer fields, 95 volleyball fields, 95 basketball courts, 36 baseball fields, and 29 multiple-use fields.
Sportspeople of note hailing from Xalapa include Armando Fernández (an Olympic wrestler), Eulalio Ríos Alemán (an Olympic swimmer and at some time butterfly-stroke record holder in the US, inducted into the Ft. Lauderdale's International Swimming Hall of Fame), and the track and field athlete Luis Hernández.
Every four years the Central American Games take place in cities all over Central America and the Caribbean. In 2012 Veracruz was chosen to host these games in 2014. Several events took place in Xalapa. The Track Cycling was held in the Velodrome, the Modern Pentathlon Swimming took place in the University Swimming Pool, the Athletics trials in the Hilberto Jara Corona Stadium, and Badminton and Table Tennis in the Omega Complex. All of this brought recognition in the sports world to Xalapa.
The Cuban athlete Sandra Mustelier, a member of the table tennis team, decided to flee the hotel where her team was staying two days before the opening of the Central American Games in Veracruz. The 28-year-old athlete did not collect her accreditation in Veracruz, a situation for which her teammates located her immediately by phone. When contacted, Mustelier herself informed her team of her defection. No investigation was undertaken by the Mexican authorities regarding this situation. Mustelier was considered to be a strong contender to win medals in table tennis.
Laguna Verde Nuclear Power Plant (LVNPP) in nearby Alto Lucero, Veracruz, produces about 4.5% of Mexico's electrical energy.
The city is connected by the 140-D Highway with the cities of Veracruz, Puebla and Mexico City. Also the 140 Road provides a link between those cities.
Several bus companies are based in Xalapa including Servicio Urbano de Xalapa (SUX); Auto-Transportes Banderilla (ATB); the yellow and green sets of Interbus, Auto-Transportes Miradores Del Mar; and Transportes Rápidos de Veracruz (TRV) amongst many others.
The public institutions of the health sector that provide services are:
In the private sector the municipality counts on important medical establishments such as:
Notable newspapers produced or circulated in Xalapa include www.Xalapa.MX Diario de Xalapa, Diario AZ, Diario el Portal de Xalapa, Diario la Opinión, Periódico Marcha, Periódico Al Calor Político, Periódico Agronómica, Milenio and the Líder. As well, important agency of news on line, like RadioVer www.radiover.com and magazine Revista Era www.revistaera.com t
The city is served by numerous radio stations including:
Television channels include:
Cable services include:
The municipality of Xalapa has an area of 118.45 square kilometres which comprises 0.16% of Veracruz state. It borders to the north with Banderilla, Jilotepec and Naolinco, to the east with Actopan and Emiliano Zapata, to the south with Coatepec and the west with Tlalnelhuayocan.
Situated east, about 50 km (31 mi) away along Mexican Federal Highway 140 is the Cofre de Perote National Park. The park covers an area of 117 km2 (29,000 acres), and consists of mainly forested mountains and hills. Its highest point of Cerro de Macuiltépetl rises 1522 metres above sea level. Other hills of prominence include the Cerro de Acalotépetl and the Cerro Colorado.
From Xalapa you can also see the Pico de Orizaba, the highest peak in Mexico (5,366m or 18,490 feet). It is also the third highest peak in North America.
Hydrographically, there are numerous streams and springs which are in the area around the city. These include the rivers: Sedeño River, Carneros River, Sordo River, Santiago River, Zapotillo River, Castillo River and the Coapexpan River, 3 artificial lakes and the springs Chiltoyac, Ánimas, Xallitic, Techacapan and Tlalnecapan. Jalcomulco is located 39 km (24 mi) southeast of Xalapa which has numerous natural features, such as the mouth of the Pescados River. Cascada de Texolo (Texolo Waterfall) is located 19 km (12 mi) southwest of Xalapa, in the town of Xico. It is an 80 meters (260 feet) waterfall that drops into a lush canyon, home to numerous animal species.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Xalapa features a subtropical highland climate (Cfb) that borders on a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) under the Köppen climate classification. The climate in Xalapa is humid, but the city is relatively cool being located in the mountains over 1400 meters above sea level. The climate can be variable, having a maximum temperature of 37.3 °C and a minimum ranging from 0 °C to 10 °C, but on average the temperature does not fluctuate greatly all year round with an average annual temperature of 18 °C. The warmer season in Xalapa tends to fall between March and reaching a peak in May when the average high reaches 28 °C and low of 17 °C. The cooler season is late December, January and February with an average low of 11 °C and an average high of 22 °C. Travelers to Xalapa will generally find that the most comfortable weather occurs from the beginning of November to mid-April, although they would be well-advised to bring warm clothing, as nighttime winter temperatures can occasionally drop to near 0 °C.
The average annual precipitation is 1509.1 mm. During the cooler winter months rainfall is at a minimum, with Xalapa receiving only 42 millimeters in January and 38 millimetres in February on average. Snow, however, is common in winter outside the city at Perote, located around 35 minutes from Xalapa. Very early in the morning, Xalapa often has a mist, giving it a characteristic mountain atmosphere. The greatest rainfall occurs during the summer months, particularly in June, when on average rainfall reaches 328 millimeters, remaining relatively high until mid-September.
|Climate data for Xalapa (1951-2010)|
|Record high °C (°F)||32.4
|Average high °C (°F)||21.2
|Daily mean °C (°F)||15.8
|Average low °C (°F)||10.4
|Record low °C (°F)||0.2
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||41.2
|Average precipitation days||12.4||11.9||11.1||9.4||11.1||19.6||19.0||16.5||19.3||16.9||12.6||13.0||172.8|
|Average relative humidity (%)||67||63||63||60||63||68||67||66||69||69||67||68||66|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||143||133||166||155||159||138||215||168||132||145||154||142||1,850|
|Source 1: Servicio Meteorologico Nacional (humidity 1981-2000)|
|Source 2: Deutscher Wetterdienst (sun, 1961-1990)[a]|
Xalapa is often called the "Flower Garden of Mexico" and flowers play an important role in the economy. Xalapa is one of the most important places for coffee production in Mexico due to its ideal climate, and coffee beans are grown on both small holdings and large estates in the surrounding mountains. The tobacco industry also forms a part of the local economy with the process of producing cigarettes, and the growing of tropical fruits. Processed foods and beverages are also produced in Xalapa.
Employment structure in Xalapa in 2005:
|Industry sector||Typical professions||% of population|
|Primary Industry||Farming, cattle ranching, hunting and fishing||4.21|
|Secondary Industry||Petroleum Mining, extraction and natural gas, manufacturing, industry, electricity, water and construction||19%|
|Tertiary Industry||Commerce, transport and communications, financial, social and administrative services||70%|
. . . and from what I saw I would be willing to make Jalapa my home for life with only one condition [that his wife could join him].(Letter to Julia Dent 24 April 1847)