Villages in the Rudawy Janowickie
Rudawy Janowickie Mountains
tourism, mystery, dreams...

Janowice Wielkie

Janowice Wielkie

350-400 m above sea level

The village, at an altitude of approximately 350-400 m, is situated in the picturesque valley of the Bóbr river between the Kaczawskie and Rudawy Janowickie mountains.

It is the chief locality of the Janowice Wielkie commune, and lies in the vicinity of Trzcińsko, Miedzianka, Mniszków and Radomierz.

Part of the village stretches along the Bóbr river, and the buildings vary significantly architecturally. They range from simple timber cottages to magnificent villas, the majority dating back to the 19th century and classified as buildings protected by conservation status.

Janowice Wielkie is a growing centre of tourism, providing accommodation and a selection of places to eat. The well-known Prophylaxis and Rehabilitation Complex, specialising in the rehabilitation treatment of the musculoskeletal system and respiratory diseases, also offers leisure facilities for children and adults.

A historical palace from the 16th century, featuring a scenic park abundant in ancient trees and the remains of various park buildings, is situated on the northern bank of the Bóbr. It was converted in 1952 into a social care home, and continues to function very well as such to this day.

The Christ the King Parish Church is to be found not far from the palace, and was built as an Evangelical church in the 18th century. Alongside it stands a 15th-century Catholic church, built as the parish church and currently used as the Church of the Assumption, its roof featuring a conciliation cross. Both buildings display a richness and variety in their fittings as well as in the architecture. An interesting road sign by the well-known sculptor Hans Brodenberger stands by the road to the railway station, featuring a man pushing a barrel to the brewery to point the way to Miedzianka, and another man hurrying to catch a train pointing to the railway station.

Janowice Wielkie is also famed for its unique Swedish Whitebeam Avenue and other trees classified as natural monuments.

The village is located on the main railway route between Jelenia Góra and Wrocław, and also very close to the road between these two cities.


The fortunes of fate ...

There was no Janowice, no Miedzianka... Yes, that's right, their land was part of the landed property of the Lord at Mniszków. And from this land Miedzianka was formed, and from Miedzianka – Janowice was established. History likes reversing the order among the mighty, and today the once powerful Mniszków is but a memento, Miedzianka is barely still on the surface, and Janowice is triumphant.

The locality's genesis is not exactly known, with more detailed information on Janowice dating back to the second half of the 14th century when it was inhabited by serfs. Janowice passed between property owners pretty frequently, as did other settlements in the area, but this did nothing to dampen its rapid growth. The industrial era began, steel-making was developing, furnace plants were built above the Bóbr river (metallurgic plants where raw materials were processed into steel) along with a smithy where metals were processed using a hammer moved by waterwheel. 1610 was when the first paper mill was established in Janowice. Tough times were ahead of the village then; the stench of the Thirty Years' War was gradually reaching Janowice. Its inhabitants fled in panic into the mountains, taking with them all the belongings they could. The narrow rock crevices became their homes, and some even built shelters intending to safely ride out the forays of the imperial armies. Unfortunately this was frequently in vain, and the army plundered the shelters, murdering the people and stealing their livestock.

After the horrors of the Thirty Years' War, mining gathered pace in the area, while cottage-industry weaving also contributed significantly to the village's growth. There were over 393 looms running in Janowice, and as many as 33 weaving masters offered their services. Agriculture also had its good years. Janowice was becoming a wealthy settlement, and in 1825 comprised 174 homes, a palace and grange buildings. You could well have thought the good times had arrived... But then the mining began its decline, the weaving ended, and many people found themselves slipping into poverty.

1 November 1854 was the date on which a shelter for incapable weavers was established. It was named "Elizabeth", in honour of the wife of Duke Wilhelm, who founded the institution.

Janowice did not have to wait long to blossom once again. Then barely known but boasting a beautiful location, it was connected to the railway network in 1867; the lord of the lands at the time, Count Stolberg-Wernigerode, contributed a great deal to the railway's construction. He gave up the land to be used for the line; there used to be ponds in the land that was allocated for the building of the railway. Janowice, just like a heavy locomotive, entered the world of business and tourism. The iron road changed forever this almost inaccessible settlement, brushed by the waters of the Bóbr and hugged by mountain peaks. Visitors were welcomed by the railway station's restaurant, and sidings were built for heavy wagons of coal and wood, directed to the highly prosperous paper factory. Apparently it used to manufacture up to 40 tons of paper a day, varying in colour and thickness, which was exported all over the world. There's no paper mill there today, although it hasn't vanished without a trace. The demolition of the mill's chimney was caught on camera for Paweł Huelle's film "Dawidek Weisser", and some of the buildings still stand today.

Janowice became the best base for trips into the mountains, but that was not the village's only role. It was also considered to have a very beneficial microclimate, and before long a sanatorium was opened – and it continues to prosper. The Prophylaxis and Rehabilitation Complex, as it is known today, specialises in the rehabilitation treatment of musculoskeletal system and respiratory diseases, and also offers leisure facilities for adults and children.

Numerous guesthouses were built, and they catered on average for around 1,000 tourists[JdW1] . Foot trails, romantic meeting places, and viewpoints on rock formations in the vicinity were established.

Railings for the Falcon Stones were manufactured in the local smithy thanks to the blacksmith Karl Pilz. Driven by the tourism, Janowice transformed into a charming locality with well-tended parks, alleys and splendid, well-kept houses.

The World War II period saw a branch of the Gross-Rosen labour camp established within Janowice Wielkie.

After the War tourism failed to recover its earlier standing, but the good rail link between Jelenia Góra and Wrocław allowed it to continue functioning. Also important was the fact that in 1973 Janowice Wielkie was granted the status of the commune's chief locality.

Cross in Janowice Wielkie

The conciliation cross remained out of sight for a long time as it was built into the wall of the Church of the Assumption from the 15th century and had been covered in a layer of plaster. It was moved during the church's renovation, and today can be seen on the church roof, thus constituting an architectural point of interest.

Historical road sign and famous sculptors

By the road towards the railway station, the main street in Janowice, stands an interesting road sign by the well-known sculptor Hans Brodenberger. A man pushing a barrel towards the "Miedzianka Gold" brewery points the way to Miedzianka, while another man hurrying to catch a train points to the railway station. There was apparently also a road sign with a car, showing the direction for Bolczów Castle, Trzcińsko and Karpniki. Another sculptor who lived in Janowice was the one famous for the wooden cross at the Vang church in Karpacz, commissioned by Countess Reden. The church also has other wooden elements supplementing its structure which were made by the same sculptor.

Secret Rose Garden

"Rose Garden" is the name that was given to a place on a peak in the Ołowiane Mountains. To begin with there was just a small mountain hut there, but in 1900 a timber viewing tower was erected. The final form the hut took, as seen in old postcards, was from the year 1930 – and it was given the name "Rosenbaude", or Rose Hut. The almost magical vistas over the surrounding mountains, picturesque villages and terraced rock gardens acted like a magnet among travellers.

The place's charm vaporised in March 1946, when the mountain hut was set on fire. Today this forgotten spot is waiting to burst forth from the ashes.

Translation Jonathan Weber


„Kronika Janowic Wielkich". A manuscript by Dora Puschmann, nee Ende.„Słownik geografii turystycznej Sudetów. Rudawy Janowickie". Red. M. Staffa. Wyd. I-BIS. Wrocław 1998Kapałczyński W., Napierała P. „Zamki, pałace i dwory Kotliny Jeleniogórskiej". Fundacja Doliny Pałaców i Ogrodów Kotliny Jeleniogórskiej. Wrocław 2005."Dolina Zamków i Ogrodów. Kotlina Jeleniogórska - wspólne dziedzictwo". Red. O. Czerner, A. Herzig. Muzeum Okręgowe w Jeleniej Górze. Berlin i Jelenia Góra 2003