Xalapa-Enríquez, commonly Xalapa or Jalapa, is the capital city of the Mexicanstate of Veracruz and the name of the surrounding municipality. In the year 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.
Xalapa comes from the Nahuatl roots xal-li “sand” and a-pan “water place”, which approximately means “spring in the sand.”
It is classically pronounced [ʃaˈlapan] in Nahuatl, though the final [n] is often omitted; the [ʃ] sound (like English sh) was written x in the 16th century, but does not occur in modern Spanish, and its counterpart is the [x] or [h] sound, normally written j. The spelling Xalapa (like the word México) reflects the archaic pronunciation.
Xalapa is the home place of the famous Jalapeño peppers
The full name of the city is Xalapa-Enríquez, named in honor of 19th-century Governor Juan de la Luz Enríquez. Its name is pronounced [xaˈlapa] in Spanish and /həˈlɑːpə/ in English. The city’s nickname “La ciudad de las flores” (The City of Flowers), was bestowed byAlexander von Humboldt, who visited the town on 10 February 1804. However, the reference is firmly embedded in its earlier colonial history. In folklore, the Spaniards believed that Xalapa was the birthplace and home of the “Florecita”, which literally means little flower. 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), which is largely a reason why General Enriquez, whose policies did much to enchance the educational system in Xalapa, is so honored in the city.