Xalapa (häläˈpä) [key] or Xalapa Enriquez häläˈpä ānrēˈkās, city (1990 pop. 279,451), capital of Veracruz state, E central Mexico, on the slopes of the Sierra Madre Oriental. It is located in a rich agricultural region of fertile valleys. Its cool climate, beautiful parks and artificial lakes, and the proximity of interesting villages and ruins and of scenic Mt. Orizaba make Xalapa a popular resort. The site of a pre-Columbian city, Xalapa was captured by Cortés in 1519. It was a commercial center during the Spanish colonial era, but declined in the late 18th cent., after which it served as an important military base. The local museum has an excellent archaeological collection, notably a group of colossal Olmec heads, which is displayed in the open air. The city, also called Jalapa, is the seat of the Univ. of Veracruz.