Four quiet and secluded Russian Old Believer communities have been developed on the outskirts of Homer. They left their home country in search of freedom to worship in their own way.
The first (and easiest to visit) Russian Old Believer community on the Kenai Peninsula was Nikolaevsk, located 10 miles east of Anchor Point on the North Fork Road, near the North Fork of the Anchor River. Established in 1968 by five families, with the financial support of the Tolstoy Foundation of New York, Nikolaevsk has grown to about 300 residents.There is a post office, a small restaurant serving Russian food, art shops, visitor lodging and the beautiful Church of Saint Nicholas. Visitors to Nikolaevsk are encouraged to heed signs stressing the slow speed limit and to request permission before taking pictures.
Three more Russian Old Believer villages are located east of Homer. Voznesenka is situated beyond the end of the paved East End Road, a distance of approximately 23 miles from Homer. Razdolna, located about 25 miles from Homer, can be reached by taking a gravel road that turns off East End Road. The homes in each of these villages spread across a rolling hillside overlooking the head of Kachemak Bay. Kachemak Selo is nestled between the bay's shoreline and a canyon, near the mouth of a stream. There is no public road to the village. Clothing is of a colorful, traditional style, with men and boys wearing embroidered shirts and handwoven belts, and women and girls wearing ankle-length dresses. After arriving on the Kenai Peninsula, many Russian Old Believers became commercial fishermen, building their own boats and spending summers fishing. Since then, others have opened their own businesses on the Kenai Peninsula and in other Alaska communities.
Privacy and preserving their lifestyle are important to Russian Old Believers. Keep that respectfully in mind when visiting one of their communities.