The clues of history reveal themselves on its aisles, the millenarian
swings of Xalapa
or Xalapan, a word of the Náhualt
language that translates as Spring of Sand, a spring that was filled
with life with the presence of the Totonacas, Chichimecas, Toltecas
and Teochichimecas, peoples that were subdued by the Aztecs in 1457.
Then the Spaniards would arrive with their horses, swords and evangeliser crosses. They arrived in 1521 to impose their norms and laws, destroy the indigenous temples and erect the churches of the new faith, the Catholic, that of heaven an hell, which had its first home in the Convent of San Francisco, finished in 1555, on their remains.
, located at 1700 metres above sea level,
consolidated and started to grow. A City of Spanish features, a
place of transit between Mexico
and Veracruz, prosperous
and commercial, picturesque due to its narrow streets that seem
to climb along the capricious gradient of the terrain. But nothing
is forever and the vigour of the nascent City transformed into faintness
when new routes for trading were opened.
To reborn, cast the pause away and break oblivion's shell. But how,
when, was it possible? Yes, and it happened in 1720 with the organisation
of the Fair of Xalapa
, an event that caught the
attention of traders in New Spain (Mexico), and marked the beginning
of a new age of prosperity. It was the foundation that would sustain
its upgrading to State Capital 104 years later.
Then would come that of "Veracruz' Athens". This denomination began
to take shape in 1886, when the first College of Teachers (Normal)
in Mexico was founded. Since then, new high-level instruction centres
would be created, thus giving the City a university campus' flavour.
is the main seat of Veracruzana
University, the most important in the State.
History comes up to here, the memory, the remembrance; we better get out to the steep streets to discover the Cathedral, where the Lady of the Immaculate Conception, patron of the City, is venerated. One must also visit the Museum of the blessed fifth Bishop of Veracruz, Rafael Guízar y Valencia (1877-1937), standing right beside the temple.
The Promenade of the Lakes, a path of reverie with huge gardens and leafy trees; the Chapel of the Souls, alongside the old road connecting Xalapa and Veracruz; the Francisco Javier Clavijero Botanic Garden, with more than 700 flora species; and the Cofre del Perote National Park with mountains, canyons, cliffs and cascades, are but a few of the spots of interest in the City and its surroundings.
We need to draw the veil (or is it the tulle of fog?) to meet Xalapa
a colonial and modern City, with its lecture rooms full of knowledge,
its rippled streets, its museum plethoric of the past, its peaks
that create biorhythms, and its deep ravines. Uh, and of course,
I almost forgot that detail: with its bit of mystery and its bit