Janów Lubelski was chartered as a private town based on the Magdeburg law in 1640 under the act issued by King Władysław IV in the territory occupied by the village of Biała, which was within the Zamość estates. Along with its charter the town was granted the right to organize weekly market days and eight fairs per year.

At the beginning, the town retained its original name “Biała”, but in 1653 in honor of its then proprietor – Jan “Sobiepan” Zamoyski, an incisor Regni, it was reanamed Janów. The town located by the route from Turobin to Goraj and Zawichost developed as a local center of agriculture, trade and craft, as well as the administrative center to some of the lands of the estates.

The time of prosperity did not last long. As early as 1648, Janów was plundered by the Cossacks led by Khmelnitsky, and in 1652 a plague decimated its population. In 1657, the town was destroyed by Swedish troops. In the mid-17th century, Janów had been rebuilt, thanks, among others, to Jews who started to settle here from the second half of the century, which was possible upon the consent of Jan Zamoyski. The craft industry (e.g. smithery, locksmithery, boiler making, pottery, textiles), trade, and also agriculture, which was the source of income for a number of the town’s inhabitants, all developed in Janów. At the end of the 18th century, Janów had a population of 3,000, and it was one of the nine biggest towns in Lesser Poland (Polish: Małopolska).

In 1795, as a result of the third partition of Poland, the town was under the Austrian rule (New Galicia), in 1809 – in the Duchy of Warsaw (Lublin Department), and from 1815 on, in the Kingdom of Poland (Lublin Province, then Lublin Governorate). In the first quarter of the 19th century, Janów started to develop as a local industrial centre. A glass works started operating in nearby Nizioł in 1801; from 1841 on, there was a shingle factory here, and a brick factory that produced mainly to meet the local needs was opened in 1847.

Owning to the support of Stanisław Kostka Zamoyski who, at that time, was the owner of the Zamoyski estates, and who, in 1805-1816, brought from Germany a group of qualified craftsmen, the town became an important center of cloth production. After the November Uprising, due to the closure of customs border with Russia, the termination of the contract for deliveries for the army, and as a result of modern and competitive factories in Warsaw and Łódź, the textile industry in Janów gradually declined. Also craft flourished in the town, and it was a source of income for ca. 25-35 percent of the Janów inhabitants.

In 1834, Janów was raised to the status of a district town. Resulting from the administrative reform implemented after the January Uprising, the town became the county center in 1867. At the end of the 19th century, Janów had been destroyed several times by fires, which impeded the development of the town.

In the interwar period, Janów (Lublin Province) was a multiethnic and multi-faith town inhabited by Catholics, Jews, and the Orthodox.

After the outbreak of World War II, on September 8-15, 1939, Janów was bombarded three times by Luftwaffe. During the occupation, the district of Janów became a crucial underground center of the Union of Armed Struggle – the Home Army, Peasants’ Battalions, National Armed Forces (partisans in the forests of Janów and Lipsko). Half of the town’s residents perished (mainly Jews) and 90 percent of the buildings in the town were destroyed. Also the deportations carried out by the NKVD in 1944-1945 caused the death of many people.

After the war, Janów was part of Lublin Province, and in 1975-1998 of Tarnobrzeg Province. Since 1999, the town has been the seat of the county administration.


  • Z. Baranowski, J. Łukasiewicz, and B. Nazarewicz, eds., Janów Lubelski 1640-2000, (Janów Lubelski, 2000).