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  • Writer's pictureLynn Lovegreen

Sitka, Alaska

My husband and I recently took a trip to Southeast Alaska. The next few blog posts will introduce you to the towns we visited. Today’s topic: Sitka!


Sitka’s human history goes back many years, so I am going to summarize with a few historical facts. Sitka started as indigenous land. The Tlingit people have inhabited Southeast Alaska for ten thousand years, and they developed a complex culture there that continues today. Russians invaded that part of Alaska to exploit the sea otter fur trade for the Russian American Company. Fighting two battles, in 1802 and 1804, the Tlingit prevailed in the first, and the Russians in the second. That led to Russian settlers pushing the Tlingit outside the town walls. Sitka was the headquarters of the Russian American Company and the center of Russian America. In 1867, The United States bought Alaska, and took over Sitka. The U. S. Army headquarters was there, and Sitka was the territory’s capital until it moved to Juneau in 1906.


Today, much of Sitka’s history is preserved in historical buildings and sites, some run by the National Park Service. The Russian Orthodox still flourishes in many parts of Alaska, and St. Michael’s Cathedral in Sitka is revered and contains many historical and religious items that visitors can view during certain hours. Plus, there’s plenty of beautiful scenery and other attractions for tourists and locals alike, with a current population of roughly eight thousand people. We really enjoyed Sitka, and hope to spend more time there someday.


St. Michael's Cathedral in middle of street, storefront buildings on either side
St. Michael's Cathedral, Sitka

Path to Baranof Castle (Castle Hill), wooded path up a hill
Path to Baranof Castle (Castle Hill), State Historic Site

Totem pole surrounded by hemlock and spruce trees
Totem pole in Sitka National Historical Park

Russian blockhouse, octagonal building made of unvarnished wood
Russian blockhouse (replica of original)


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