1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Albacete (town)

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ALBACETE, the capital of the above province, on the Madrid-Alicante railway, and at the confluence of the river Balazote with the canal of Maria Christina, which flows into the river Jficar, 16 m. N. Pop. (1900) 21,512. Albacete comprises the picturesque old upper town and the new or lower town, with law-courts, schools, barracks, hospitals, a council-hall, a bull-ring and other modern buildings, mostly erected after the city became a provincial capital in 1833. It is surrounded by a fertile plain, and has considerable trade in saffron and agricultural produce. A great market, chiefly for the sale of cattle, is held annually in September, and extends over several days. The manufacture of matches is aided by the existence of sulphur workings in the vicinity; and Albacete formerly had an extensive trade in cutlery, from which it was named the Sheffield of Spain. Despite the importation of cutlery from England and Germany, Albacete is still famous for its daggers, which arc held in high repute by Spaniards. They are formidable weapons, of coarse manufacture, but with richly ornamented handles; and they frequently bear proverbial inscriptions suitable to their murderous appearance.