Quetzaltenango has a population of , census. The city is located in a mountain valley at an elevation of 2, meters 7, feet above sea level at its lowest part. The name may be derived from xe laju' noj meaning "under ten mountains". The city was said to have already been over years old when the Spanish first arrived. When Alvarado conquered the city for Spain in the s, he called it by the Nahuatl name used by his Central Mexican Indian allies, "Quetzaltenango", generally considered to mean "the place of the quetzal bird.
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