g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
News & Politics
Religion & Spirituality
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

Bored? Games!
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

Natural Living
Folklore and Mythology
Distance Learning

All times in EST

Low Carb: 8:00 PM

Full Schedule
g Island Travel Site

BellaOnline's Island Travel Editor


Sitka - Surprising

Guest Author - Ann Carroll Burgess


Long hailed as the bastion of Russian culture in Alaska, Sitka is, in fact, a unique blending of three cultures. The Kiksadi tribe of the Tlingit Indians were ensconced on the island prior to the arrival of the Russian fur traders, who promptly booted them out, who in turn were followed by the arrival of the Americans.

Situated on the western edge of Baranof Island, Sitka is outside of the “Inside Passage,” but is still a port of call for many Alaska cruise ship itineraries. Sitka’s setting is one of the most beautiful in Southeast Alaska. To the west rises Mt. Edgecumbe, an extinct volcano with a shape reminiscent of Mt. Fuji in Japan, and behind the city a smaller range of mountains rise with Alp-like spires.

Within a few short decades of their arrival in the late 18th century, the Russian influence would be in full control of the island, and the town. The name would be changed to New Archangel and in almost no time at all would become known as the “Paris of the Pacific,” the most sophisticated settlement in all Alaska.

A walking tour through the town will introduce you to all three cultures in no time at all.

A good place to begin your tour is in the very center of the town at St. Michael’s Cathedral, the distinctive onion-domed church that is the seat of the Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska. The cathedral burned in 1966 but was rebuilt using original blueprints. So many of the townspeople came to help fight this fire that many of the precious religious icons, relics and vestments were saved. Inside the cathedral contains one of the largest collections of Russian icons in the United States, including the notable Sitka Madonna.

A quarter mile to the east, on Lincoln Street, is the Russian Bishop’s House, a registered historic landmark that was constructed for Bishop Innocent Veniaminov in 1842. The house is typical of Russian-built log structures in Alaska and National Park Rangers are on hand to point out the many features of the house and chapel.

Walk on another quarter mile east to the Sheldon Jackson Museum, an octagonal shaped museum that dates from 1895. The priceless native artefacts contained within were collected by Dr. Sheldon Jackson, who travelled remote regions of Alaska as both an educator and missionary. The museum displays include masks, dog sled, kayaks, and everyday utensils. An added bonus to visiting the museum are the native artisans and craft people working on traditional goods such as baskets and carvings.

Continuing east on Lincoln Street, for approximately one mile, will bring you to the Sitka National Historical Park, this special museum not only houses seven totems, to protect them from the elements, but includes a native crafts center where you can observe centuries old skills being practiced. Outside the museum, through a beautiful forest walk, is a collection of some of the beautifully crafted totem poles in Alaska.

Back in town, a quarter mile west of St. Michael’s Cathedral, lays Castle Hill. This was the location where the United States flag was flown on January 3, 1959, signifying Alaska’s admittance into the Union as the 49th state.

And, there you have it, Sitka, a surprising convergence of three different cultures.

This site needs an editor - click to learn more!

Add Sitka+%2D+Surprising to Twitter Add Sitka+%2D+Surprising to Facebook Add Sitka+%2D+Surprising to MySpace Add Sitka+%2D+Surprising to Digg Sitka+%2D+Surprising Add Sitka+%2D+Surprising to Yahoo My Web Add Sitka+%2D+Surprising to Google Bookmarks Add Sitka+%2D+Surprising to Stumbleupon Add Sitka+%2D+Surprising to Reddit

RSS | Related Articles | Editor's Picks Articles | Top Ten Articles | Previous Features | Site Map

For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Island Travel Newsletter

Past Issues

Printer Friendly
tell friend
Tell a Friend
Email Editor

Content copyright © 2018 by Ann Carroll Burgess. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Ann Carroll Burgess. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.


g features
Bermuda Pastel Houses

Guadeloupe the Island of Beautiful Waters

Antigua- Land of Many Beaches

Archives | Site Map


Past Issues

Note: BellaOnline uses cookies to help provide a consistent user experience. Our advertisers may use cookies to help customize ads. Please contact us with any question about our cookie use.

Summertime Foods
Corn on the Cob
Burgers on the Grill
Apple Pie


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2018 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.

BellaOnline Editor