Sitka Historic Park or Site
Historic Park or Site
Start at this landmark, in the center of town, to grasp the richness and depth of Sitka’s history as the capital of Russian America. The architecture and treasured icons of this landmark highlight Sitka’s long history as a European settlement decades before the American Revolution.
Arrange a water taxi ride to this man made archipelago extending into Sitka Sound, a relic of decaying fortifications built to defend Alaska from foreign invasion during World War II. During World War II, Sitka was the hub of military activity in Southeast Alaska, with a U.S. Naval Air Station and other installations.
After Finnish laborers completed St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral, they asked Russian authorities if they could build a Lutheran church for themselves. The Russians allowed it, but only if the building didn’t look like a church. That building was torn down in 1888, but you can still see what it looked like: the current Lutheran church (which looks like a church) has a model and photo of the original. The Lutheran Church is right across… ...more
Once the administrative headquarters for an empire stretching from Asia to California and Hawaii, Castle Hill today is little more than a grassy hill with a few interpretive signs, a modest stonewall, several old cannons, and a few flagpoles. But when you visit the top of this hill, you’re standing on rich historic grounds.
This stout structure is a re-creation of the guard tower that once stood here, part of the fortress enclosing the Russians during their time in Sitka, from 1804 to 1867. Fearful of the wilderness around them, and of Tlingit Natives, the Russians’ enclosed fort was open to outsiders only in the daytime.
After four years of worshiping in the Presbyterian Chapel, Episcopalians finally had their own church in 1899, with the construction of St. Peters-by-the-Sea. Complete with stained glass windows, modified flying buttresses, and wooden pews, this small chapel is open to the public 24⁄7. The church and the adjacent See House (1905) are both on the National Register of Historical Places, and are largely the work of Bishop Peter Trimble Rowe.… ...more
One of only a few structures remaining from the original Russian settlement, the endurance of the Russian Bishop’s House reflects the dedication brought to the job by the missionary Bishop Innocent Veniaminov, its first occupant. Its chapel includes several icons Innocent imported from Russia.