Kupiškis is a small town in the North East of Lithuania. It is the centre of the district municipal administration. It is also a cultural and industrial centre of local significance. The town was named after the River Kupa. It was founded somewhat upstream from the place where the Kupa and the Levens flow together.
The archaeological findings provide evidence that even in the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C. people dwelt in the surroundings of Kupiškis. However, there is no information on when the very settlement was founded. The findings around the mound show that in the 8th century A.D. a wooden defence castle loomed there. Kupiškis, as a town of Žygimantas the Elder, the ruler of Lithuania, was first mentioned in historical sources in 1529. In 1561-1565, it was the centre of a small rural district and belonged to Upytė and later — to Ukmergė districts. At that time the main road from Vilnius to Riga went via Kupiškis.
In the early centuries, Kupiškis region peasants shared the glories of growing the best marketable flax with Rokiškis peasants. Kupiškis was the centre of trading in flax. This is evidenced by the first stone building of the town — flax warehouse, built in the first half of the 18th century and still existing. In 1616, the first Catholic church was built in Kupiškis. In 1781 the first school of Lankasteriai family was established. Kupiškis was several times devastated by fires. However, the railway line Daugpilis-Šiauliai-Liepoja, built in 1873, contributed to its revival and was slowly growing despite of wars and occupations.