Xalapa, capital of the State of Veracruz, is situated in the foothills of Mexico's eastern cordillera, at an altitude of more than 1400 metres. An indispensable staging-post between the coastal lands with their stifling climate and the arid central plateau, it possesses all the advantages of the tropics without any of the disadvantages. From the era before Cortés on, the traveler has rested here on the road to the capital, no doubt fascinated by the beauty of the surrounding countryside. A natural frontier between the dry tropical zone and the humid temperate zone, the region is dominated by Citlaltepetl, a volcano which rises to more than 5700 metres and whose summit, permanently covered by snow, contrasts so starkly with the exuberance of the tropical vegetation that the Spanish conquistadors believed at first they were seeing a mirage.
Today, Xalapa is a provincial city of more than five hundred thousand inhabitants, whose cultural reputation has for a long time now exceeded the borders of the State. The greatest plus for Xalapa is also its greatest handicap: no industries in the town. It therefore concentrates on the tertiary activity which flourishes because of the large student population attracted by the prestige of the University of Veracruz, the largest after UNAM, the National University of Mexico. More than sixty thousand students study there, spread out in more than thirty branches. The University was decentralized in the sixties, but the administrative services and the Rectorate are still in Xalapa, in a university city which many a country could envy.
During this same period the Faculty of Letters and Plastic Arts was created, along with related research institutes. These university centers - of instruction and of research - have attracted both national and international intellectuals and artists, seduced by the patronage-like conditions offered by the university. The Symphony Orchestra of Xalapa has experienced an unprecedented renewal, the Institute of Anthropology has obtained from the government the construction of a new Museum of Anthropology which, today, rivals that of Mexico City in presenting a invaluable collection of pre-Columbian treasures recovered from the regional sites of the mysterious Olmec and Totonac cultures. In brief, Xalapa has taken flight in a direction which today defines it whole charm: it is a town in which intellectuals and artists recognize how good it is to live there, owing as much to the colonial atmosphere of its paved and sloping streets, as to the quality of its program of cultural activities.
Now, national and international tourists are also discovering it. They enjoy its discreet enchantments, the myriad of excursions to the beautiful sightseeings surrounding the city or to the strong emotions of white water rafting. And don't forget the possibility of listening to classical music at the symphony concert or visiting galleries and museums. Or simply taking advantage of its temperate climate while enjoying its traditional cooking in the patio of one of its flavorful restaurants or coffees.
Don't think about it anymore, be our guests, come and discover Xalapa, you won't forget it!
Concepción y realización : Frater Consultant para los socios de RTX