Albacete [Spanish pronunciation: ] is a city and municipality in the Spanish autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha, and capital of the province of Albacete. It is in the south-east of the Iberian Peninsula, in the region known as the Meseta Central within the historic region of La Mancha, in the smaller historic region of La Mancha de Montearagón; the area around the city is known as Los Llanos. With a population of 172,487 (2014) in the municipality proper, and 219,121 in the larger metropolitan area, it is the largest city in both the province and the region of Castilla-La Mancha, and indeed one of the largest of inland Spain, being included in the 20 largest urban areas in Spain. The municipality of Albacete is also the seventh largest in Spain by area, being 1,125.91 km2 (434.72 sq mi).
Albacete is the economic and judicial capital of Castilla-La Mancha, being home to the regional High Court of Justice. The writer, novelist, essayist and literary critic Azorin described the city of Albacete in a poem as "The New York of La Mancha".
The origins of the city are uncertain, with the earliest proof of settlement dating to the time of Al-Andalus, when the settlement was originally named البسيط (Al-Basīt), meaning "The Flat" in the Arabic referring to the flat land around. The city increased in prominence in the early 20th century during the Spanish Civil War due its strategic importance as national headquarters of the International Brigades.
At present, Albacete is a modern capital with large areas for pedestrians and green areas. Further its flat area and the elimination of architectural barriers have also led it to be one of the most accessible cities across the country, with better quality of life and one of the safest.
The entertainment is one of the hallmarks of the capital of Albacete, with large areas of party as La Zona, El Campus or Los Titis hosting thousands of albaceteños and visitors throughout the year, highlighting their hectic and very active day and night life by enjoying famous throughout Spain. Other of its attractions in this regard are the traditional Tascas de la Feria or the castizo outdoor market of Los Invasores.
Albacete is a commercial and industrial city par excellence, reflected in its extensive commercial area that includes more than 556 723 people from 154 municipalities. Its privileged location, halfway between Madrid and the Mediterranean coast, makes it the main logistical hub and communications for Southeast Spain, with great connections by motorways, rail (including AVE), and air (Albacete Airport), which connects points of the Spanish geography.
The city has many festivals and traditions, among which we would highlight the Feria de Albacete, declared International Tourist Interest, which is held from September 7 to 17 in honor of the Virgin of Los Llanos, the Fiestas de San Juan de Albacete, the Albacete Easter or Carnival Albacete, as well as numerous events of regional, national and international character like International FIM CEV Championship in Circuito de Albacete, the International Circus Festival, the International Film Festival Abycine, the Biennial of Art City of Albacete, the National Theatre Awards Pepe Isbert, AB Fashion Day, the Fair Performing Arts Castilla-La Mancha or Expovicaman, among many others, and even trade fairs and exhibitions.
The industry is one of the pillars of the city. Albacete is home to major multinationals and has five large industrial zones, including Campollano, which is the largest industrial area of Castilla-La Mancha and one of the largest in Spain. Higher education and research are another major development areas of the city, highlighting the University of Castilla-La Mancha, the Biomedical Campus of Albacete and the Technology Park of Albacete.
The aviation industry is one of the main economic engines of the city. Albacete hosts the School of TLP NATO pilots, Los Llanos Air Base, Ala 14 and the Air Maestranza Albacete, the most important of Spain. In addition, the city houses the Air and Logistic Park of Albacete, home to major companies.