The quantum periodic XXZ chain with alternating spins is studied. The properties of the related R-matrix and Hamiltonians are discussed. A compact expression for the ground state energy is obtained. The corresponding conformal anomaly is found via the finite-size computations and also by means of the Bethe ansatz method. In the presence of an external magnetic field, the magnetic susceptibility is derived. The results are also generalized to the case of a chain containing several different spins.