Albacete

Albacete, dynamic Spanish city

Located 300 km southeast of Madrid, in the historic region of Castile la Mancha, Albacete was during the Spanish Civil War the base of the International Brigades and the Republican Air Force.

Nowadays Albacete has become one of the main economic centers and the most important agglomeration of the autonomous community of La Manche.

A lively university, commercial and industrial city, Albacete is renowned for its cutlery industry. Dozens of workshops and shops, a museum of cutlery and knives and knives testify to the importance of this tradition inherited from the Muslim occupation.

It is the second week of September that the liveliness of the city reaches its peak with the Feria d’ Albacete.

Created by Philippe V in 1710, this great fair is a fervent reminder of the tradition of agriculture and animal husbandry that once contributed to the richness of the city and the region.

We discover the Saint John the Baptist Cathedral, San Juan Bautista, in the oldest part of the city. Its construction began in 1515, and it was not until the middle of the 19th century that it reached the appearance we know today.

Inaugurated in 1911 in the heart of the city, the park Abelardo Sánchez, with its 12 hectares, is the largest green space and one of the most significant places in Albacete.

Just a few blocks from the cathedral, the taverns and tapas bars surrounding Plaza Altozano offer local gastronomy made up of snails or pork cooked traditionally in a terracotta pot, the lomo de orza.

Visits to Albacete

Pasaje de Lodares

Designed in 1925 by Buenaventura Ferrando Castelles to make it both a shopping centre and a residential area, its ceiling is made of wrought iron and fine glass to let the light through.

Throughout the passage, beautiful Renaissance and Baroque columns, Art Nouveau decorations and buildings with modernist architecture representative of the twentieth century. The three floors of the passage are decorated with balconies overlooking the gallery. There are only two passages of this type in Spain, the second being Valladolid.

Access: between Calle Mayor and Calle del Tinte.

Paseo de la Libertad-Fuente de las Ranas

The paseo is a shopping street lined with buildings from the 20th century that takes off like a central avenue from the Plaza Altozano to the Ranas Fountain. At the entrance,’ La Nudista’, a sculpture by Arturo Martínez, followed by the Municipal Museum, the ancient Ayutamiento, the Courthouse and the Provincial Palace of the Diputación built between 1877 and 1880 on the site of the Convent of San Augustín.

There is also the old Regina Hotel and at the end, the emblematic Fuente de las Ranas. Inaugurated in 1916, it was erected in memory of Dionisio Guardiola, a republican lawyer who worked for the city’s drinking water supply in the early 20th century.

San Juan Bautista Cathedral

With its Gothic inspiration, it blends over the centuries of its conception several architectural styles mixing Gothic and Renaissance styles as well as Baroque and Neo-Gothic elements.

The interior is endowed with several Gothic chapels surmounted by starry vaults, including that of the Virgen de los Llanos, which preserves a 16th century altarpiece.

Access: Plaza de la Cathedrale.

Visits: every day from 10h45 to 12h45 then from 17h45 to 20h45. Free admission.

Provincial Museum of Albacete

Divided into three sections: archaeology, ethnology and fine arts, the museum offers a journey through the history and heritage of Albacete and its province.

The archaeology section exhibits materials from several Palaeolithic sites in the vicinity of Albacete while ethnology shows objects and tools used at different times. The work of the painter Benjamín Palencia, originally from La Mancha, is particularly highlighted in the part dedicated to the fine arts.

Access: Plaza Altozano. Park Aberlado Sánchez.

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 2pm and then from 4.30pm to 7pm, only in the morning from early July to mid-September. Sundays and public holidays from 9:30am to 2pm. Admission: 3 €, reduced price: 1,50 €.

Museum of Cutlery

Housed in a beautiful green building with an astonishing balcony gallery, this particular museum exhibits several hundred knives, daggers, daggers and scissors, the oldest of which date back to the Bronze Age. While the exhibition includes pieces from all over the world, most of them were made in Albacete.

Access: Plaza de la Cathedrale

Admission: 3 €, students: 1 €.

Municipal Museum of Albacete

The city museum is housed in the former building of the richly decorated Town Hall, whose central tower with its clock and the town’s coat of arms draws attention.

The first floor is occupied by the former meeting room now used for conferences, debates and special events. On the second floor, one of the rooms houses a permanent exhibition on the popular arts of the world.

Access: Plaza Altozano

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10.30am to 1pm – 5pm to 9pm.

La Roda

35 km northwest of Albacete.

Chaired by the Church of El Salvador (16th century), declared of cultural interest, the old town of La Roda is made up of narrow streets with numerous manor houses.

Amongst these beautiful residences: the one of the ”Dr. The Encina”, the house of the Inquisitor or the Lienzo de Doña Ana with its beautiful facades. The Antonio Martínez Museum offers a discovery of the city and its history, while in the Church of El Salvador there is a Renaissance altarpiece and works of art on display in the parish museum.

Don’t forget the famous miguelitos, local sweets and handcrafted puff pastry and cream candies.

Alcalá del Júcar

65 km northeast of Albacete.

Situated on a hill overlooking the canyon formed by the Rio Júcar, Alcalá is situated in an exceptional environment.

One enters it by crossing the Júcar on a bridge of Roman origin which was reworked in the 18th century; this one offering a beautiful view on the parade leads to the parish church of San Andrés which dates from the 16th and 18th centuries.

The steep alleys of the village climb up the hillside to the Muslim fortress rebuilt by the Christians.

Among the natural caves in the city, some of them, maintaining a constant temperature, have been transformed into an inn. Do not miss also, on the other side of the river, the original Plaza de Toros which perched on a hill is worth the detour for the strangeness of the rather unique shape of its construction.

Almansa

70 km east of Alacete.

Built on a rocky peak, the impressive fortress of Muslim origin, rebuilt in the 16th century by Don Juan Manuel, overlooks the city.

At the foot of this castle, the old town classified as a Historic Site and its narrow alleys shelter the Palace of the Counts of Cirat with its Mannerist style porch, 18th century residences such as that of the Marquis de Montortal.

You will also notice the old grain market converted into a Maison de la Culture and Ayutamiento, the town hall. The religious buildings are not outdone with the church of the 16th and 20th century Asunción, the convent of the Augustines or the convent of San Francisco.

Chinchilla de Monte Aragón

10 km southeast of Albacete.

Overlooking the plain of the Mancha from a hill, the medieval Chinchilla of Monte Aragòn shelters the castle built in the fifteenth century by Juan Pacheco, Marquis de Vilena.

Walking through these old streets, we discover strange houses dug in the earth, old hammams or emblazoned houses from the 16th and 18th centuries. Among them: the palace of Barnuevo, the Casa de la Tercia (XVIth century), the seigneuriales of Núñez Roblès or López de Haro.

The most important religious building in the city is the parish church of Santa María del Salvador, which combines Gothic and Baroque styles.

Alcaraz

80 km southwest of Albacete.

If that characterizes this village of less than 2000 inhabitants located in the south-west of the province of Albacete, it is Renaissance art displayed in its historical center. It is particularly notable for its sober 16th-century Plaza Mayor flanked by the towers of El Tardón and the Trinidad, the Lonja del Corrigidor, the former trading hall dating from the same period.

Also worth seeing: the María Magdalena Monastery, which today serves as a starting point for hikes, once served as a stronghold for Muslims and Christians alike. In the upper part of the city remains the remains of the walls of a 13th century castle.

Ayna

60 km southwest of Albacete.

Picturesque village enclaved in the gorges dug by the Mundo river, Ayna stretches out on mountainous slopes whose site of the Mirador del Diablo situated a little further away offers a unique insight.

The village is surrounded by terraces developed and cultivated by the inhabitants in order to make the little space provided by its natural environment profitable.

Located in the locality, the hermitage Nuestra Señora de los Remedios allows you to discover the Mudéjares woodwork covering its nave, while the castle of Muslim origin of the Yedra and the Grotte du Niño, which houses Neolithic rock paintings, are standing in the distance.

Hellín

70 km south of Albacete.

Many things to discover in the heritage of the historic centre of Hellín, which combines architectural styles from the 12th century to the present day. Along the alleyways: seigniorial houses, the old Jewish (judicial) and Muslim quarters, the Asuncion church, the Franciscan monastery or the hermitage Nuestra Señora del Rosario.

Yeste

South-west of the province, 130 km from Albacete.

A major tourist destination of the Segura Massif, this small town of 3000 inhabitants has inherited its Muslim past from the tortuous alleys and an ancient fortress in good state of conservation. The church and the Ayutamiento square, in Gothic and Renaissance style, will appeal to lovers.



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