True Lithuania

Rokiškis Town and Manor

Rokiškis (pop. 15 000) is among the most appealing towns of northeastern Lithuania (Aukštaitija). It is centered around a very large rectangular main Nepriklausomybės (Independence) square. The square connects the Saint Matthew church (a neo-gothic masterpiece) on its western side to an extensive 18th century Tyzenhauzai family manor in the east.

The manor consists of 16 buildings, its main palace, and the nearby servant buildings restored and housing a municipal museum. Some other buildings are still crumbling, separated from the palace by Soviet streets, but the entire complex is impressive nonetheless.

The palace of Rokiškis manor (1801). ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

1 kilometer separates the palace from the St. Matthew church, also funded by the Tyzenhauzai family (1877). The church and the palace are visible from each other through a straight urbanistic axis that consists of the 400 m long square, 400 m long Tyzenhauzų alley between two ponds and 200 m long paths of the palace garden.

The church has fine exterior and equally interesting interior.

The northern and southern sides of Nepriklausomybės square are full of 19th-century buildings. Despite some modern additions, the area managed not to loose the atmosphere of an early 20th-century town center. The square is well kept with new streetlights and benches. There are two monuments in the square, the new one is for Rokiškis while the old one (built in 1928) is dedicated to the decennial of Lithuania's independence. Unlike nearly all other such monuments, it somehow survived the Soviet occupation. Depicting mythological and allegorical figures, it also has a Baltic swastika inscribed.

The western end of Nepriklausomybės square, with the Saint Matthew church and the independence decennial monument visible. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

Streets immediately surrounding the square tend to have some old buildings as well, but if you wander further north or south, the magic of Rokiškis downtown will be quick to wane.

English tourist map of Rokiškis. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

Article written by Augustinas Žemaitis

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  1. Hello,

    A small town Rokiskis in northern Lithuania is interesting.
    I like your photos of Rokiskis Monar House(1801) and Nepriklausomybes Square, with St. Mathew Church and a big dome builging.
    By the way, what is name of the dome building?

    I hope more tourists will visit Rokiskis in northern Lithuania.

    Thank you.

    • The domed building is St. Joseph chapel. Under this chapel count R. Tyzenhauzas is buried. R. Tyzenhauzas was the one who funded the construction of both the church and the chapel. Tyzenhauzas family used to own the Rokiškis manor as well.

  2. Thank you for your reply.
    Your blog is very informative.
    Please keep up your True Lithuania Blog.

  3. Hello: I am from Gulliver’s Travels, Inc, in the United States. I have 3 adult passengers traveling to Lithuania in October. They will be staying in Vilnius for a few nights. Can you kindly advise the best way to travel from Vilnius to Rokiskis, and how far it is from Vilnius? Is it doable in a day? Thank you.

    • Hello, Buses go from Vilnius to Rokiškis in 3 hours one way. If using private/hired car it may be somewhat faster. So it is quite far, although possible to go there and back in one day (e.g. there is a bus ~6:50-9:55 to Rokiškis and ~17:20-20:50 back). However it may be more convenient to combine Rokiškis with some other locations in northeast Lithuania and spend more days there. Moreover, if the tourists you mention have no particular relation to Rokiškis (e.g. ancestry) there are possible day-trips more easily accesable from Vilnius (Trakai, Kaunas, Rumšiškės are all ~1 hour or less one way by bus/train).

  4. Hello: I hope that you can help me. My Paternal Grandmother was born in Rokiskis, in 1895, would you be able to direct me to some ancestry sites or public records in that area of Lithuania.

    • There are no true extensive ancestry websites for Lithuania. You may use the general ancestry websites, but they tend to be weak on Lithuania. A search may be done in the Lithuanian archives though. It is not free, however. We do provide such services.


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