Altare, from altos, high; some ancient etymological guesses are recorded by St Isidore of Seville in Etymologiae xv.
The mean elevation is greatest in the west (Altos of Quezaltenango) and least in the east (Altos of Guatemala).
A few of the streams of the Pacific slope actually rise in the Altos, and force a way through the Sierra Madre at the bottom of deep ravines.
One large river, the Chixoy, escapes northwards towards the Atlantic. (4) The relief of the mountainous country which lies north of the Altos and drains into the Atlantic is varied by innumerable terraces, ridges and underfalls; but its general configuration is admirably compared by E.
Fruits, grain and medicinal plants are obtained in great abundance, especially where the soil is largely of volcanic origin, as in the Altos and Sierra Madre.