Albacete is a city and municipality in southeastern Spain, southeast of Madrid and northwest of Murcia, the capital of the province of Albacete in the autonomous community of Castile-La Mancha. It is located to the southeast of the Meseta Central, specifically in the historic Manchego region of La Mancha de Montearagón. It currently falls within the region of the Llanos de Albacete, being the only municipality in this region.
The city is the seat of judicial district number 1 in the province, the seat of the diocese that bears the same name, and the seat of the High Court of Justice of Castilla-La Mancha, the highest court in the Autonomous Community. The municipality of Albacete is the seventh largest in Spain with (fourth if only the provincial capitals are taken into account).
In 2012, the city had 172,472 inhabitants, rising to 218,110 in the metropolitan area, being the city with the highest number of inhabitants in all Castilla-La Mancha, and one of the main urban areas of the country. From the mid-twentieth century, the city underwent major population growth which is reflected in its extensive commercial area which encompasses more than 556,723 people from 154 municipalities.
At present, Albacete is a modern capital with large areas for pedestrians and green areas that make it one of the ten cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants with the lowest presence of pollution in all Europe. 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, and the sixth with the highest quality of life, according to a study by the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU), 2012.
Albacete is a commercial and industrial city, a major communications hub, which is well connected by highways and by rail (including services AVE) and air passage via its airport that connects it with various locations in the Spanish territory.
The industrial area in the city, known as Polígono de Campollano, has recently been expanded as it is one of the biggest industrial parks in Spain. The local government is pushing to make Albacete a logistic center in the southeastern part of Spain.
The writer, novelist, essayist and literary critic Azorin, described the city of Albacete in a poem as "The New York of La Mancha".
The city has many festivals and traditions, among which should be highlighted the Feria de Albacete, declared of international tourist interest, which is held from 7 to 17 September in honor of the Virgin of Los Llanos, and numerous regional events of a national and international nature such as the European Truck Championship, or the international Circus Festival (among others), and even trade fairs and exhibitions.
The aviation industry is one of the main economic drivers of the city, as well as the Albacete Air and Logistics Park, home to major companies, the city also hosts the Training Center for NATO pilots.
Albacete, together with Ciudad Real, has one of the main campuses of the University of Castilla la Mancha. It is estimated that between 9,000 and 10,000 students study at any of the schools that the regional university currently has in the city.
From the beginning of the twentieth century, the city began gaining importance as, during the Spanish Civil War, it was the headquarters and training camp of the International Brigades, whose political commissar was André Marty, also known as the "Butcher of Albacete".
Albacete is home to the football team Albacete Balompié.