The legend of the founding of Rokiškis tells about a hunter called Rokas who had been hunting for hares (Lit. "kiškis"). However, cities ending in "-kiškis" are quite popular in the region. The city was first mentioned in 1499 . At first it was Prince Kroszinski's residence, later count Tyzenhaus build a beautiful neogothic church of St. Matthias and Rokiškis Manor, which is well preserved today and houses the Rokiškis Regional Museum. The town was planned in a classicist manner.

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