No one can deny a few things to Albacete: like its status as the largest city of Castilla-La Mancha, its economic importance or its great industry, to give some examples.
To have an idea about its history we should start saying that neither the Pre-Roman peoples, nor the Romans, nor the Visigoths showed enormous interest in this area, and it had to be the Arabs, perhaps because they came from more or less desert lands like these ones, those who caught its affection. They even gave it the name that, with few changes, has survived until today: Al-Basit meaning The Plain, and many years later Azorín would rename it as the New York of La Mancha, impressed by the modernity and development that the metropolis had reached by the end of the nineteenth century.
Albacete had signed up to what they call the train of progress. With the installation of electric lighting and the growth of lots of industries and factories, it entered the following century at one thousand miles per hour, and its population maintained a sustained growth for a lot of decades.
But, by the way, what’s left of the past in the capital of Albacete today? Well, you have the Cathedral of John the Baptist, which was begun in the sixteenth century and was not finished until the twentieth century: you have the Posada del Rosario and the Monastery of the Incarnation, both of them of a Renaissance style; and you have quite a few fantastic civil works, like the Gran Hotel or the Passage of Lodares. The latter was built in the twenties of the last century, moving the elegance of the Italian commercial galleries to the very heart of La Mancha. Both of them are emblematic places and are due to the initiative of Gabriel Lodares, a millionaire and politician who, among other things, scored a point bringing drinking water to the city.
And we have, of course, the traditional cutlery of Albacete. It seems that it is an art inherited from the Arabs, although we will not give you many details about it. For that, the best thing to do is to go to the Museum of the Cutlery of Albacete and learn all about it, and after, you can stop for a while and observe the Monument to the Knife-Maker. There is no shortage of sharp metals in Albacete!