Indeed, Quetzaltenango (or Xela) is synonymous with cultural tradition. Many of the women still dress in the colorful wide skirts and woven blouses favored by their ancestors. Others can comfortably speak both Spanish and local indigenous languages such as K'iche'.
Most maps identify Guatemala's second-largest city as Quetzaltenango. But ask a native from this highland community to name their hometown and they will likely answer "Xela" — the Mayan name that existed centuries before the arrival of the Spaniards.
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