This city of about 8,500 residents is located on Sitka Sound. Accessible only by air or sea, it fronts the Pacific Ocean, running along Baranof Island’s west shore and includes south Chichagof Island and many other small, forested islands along the coast. It is a jewel of a city, boasting stunning landscape and terrain.
Sitka was originally settled by the Tlingit people over 10,000 years ago. In 1799, Russia came to establish their own settlement. The Tlingit warriors revolted in 1802 and destroyed the Russian settlement. Two years later, in the “Battle of Sitka”, Russia returned, battering the Tlingit fort until the native people surrendered. The Russians renamed Sitka as New Archangel and controlled the area until the US purchased it in 1867.
Sitka is known for its Tlingit culture and Russian influences that are intermingled in the local art, architecture, and museums.
One of the best ways to experience the varied history and cultures of Sitka is by taking a scenic tour. ShoreExcursions.com offers a variety of coach and/or walking tours to see and explore historic Russian monuments like St Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral and the restored Russian Bishop’s House, the National Historical Park which features Tlingit totem poles, the Fortress of the Bear which is a rescue center for Alaskan brown and black bears, and the Raptor Center where local birds of prey are rehabilitated.
The abundant wildlife include humpback whales, sea lions, sea otters, seals, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, tufted puffins, brown and black bears, and salmon.
Sitka National Historic Park (Totem Park)
WWII fort (abandoned) on Japonski Island
Fortress of the Bears
St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral
Sitka Music Festival (in summer)
Baranoff Castle State Historic Site
Tongass National Forest
Baranoff Island Brewing Company
Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall
Sitka scenic tour
Wildlife viewing cruise