SITKA, ALASKAseaview of sitka alaska

Sitka has one of the oldest and most culturally significant communities in Alaska and is located on the western coast of Baranof Island. The original inhabitants were the Tlingit Indians, until the Russian Empire occupied Sitka in 1804. It soon became Russia's most important Pacific port and headquarters to the most profitable fur trading company in the world, the Russian-American Company. When Alaska was sold to the United States in 1867,  it was the seat of territorial government until making way to Juneau in 1906. Today, Sitka has a population of around 9,000, and the town has changed very little in physical size from when the Tlingit Indians called the area their home.

russian church in sitka alaska  st. michaels church in sitka alaska the alaskan flag
St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Cathedral The Alaskan State Flag
In the centre of downtown Sitka is St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Cathedral, originally dating from 1844. A catastrophic fire in 1966 destroyed the original log and sail cloth structure, but through the heroic efforts of the local townspeople, 95% of the contents was saved from the conflagration. The present cathedral was built of concrete and steel, completed in 1976 and is constructed in the shape of a cross with three altars and two separate chapels. Inside are many beautiful icons and historically important art and church treasures. The exterior features an onion dome with a spire topped with a gold Russian cross 
new archangel dancers in sitka alaska russian dancers
The New Archangel Dancers

This extremely colorful display, with catchy music and humorous storylines, is performed with tremendous expressiveness by these skilled women. The brightly colored and flowing costumes add a light and airy nature to the dances, each one telling a different folk tale.

Since 1969, this all-woman dance troupe has performed their series of authentic Russian, Moldavian, Byelorussian and Ukrainian folk dances. Trained by Russian choreographers, the dancers perform in traditional costumes at the Harrigan Centennial Hall in Sitka, as well at many special events and festivals. All of the dancers are local volunteers between 21 and 50 years of age. No men are allowed into the troupe, since in the early days the women's husband's and boyfriends were not interested in the dancing. Now that the ladies travel and perform all around the world, the men get to stay at home and mind the house and look after the children.

For more information, please visit

colorful costumes of the russian dancers new archangel dancers
totem pole        tlinget totem pole        totem pole in alaska
Totem Poles in Sitka National Historic Park

 PART SIX - Sitka Wildlife Quest 

More photos from Alaska can be found on our new website or on the links below
Departure Sunrise Juneau Yakutat Bay Sitka Sitka Wildlife Ketchikan
Misty Fjords Flight Butchart Gardens Eagles Sea Lions & Otters Seals Whales Hubbard Glacier
Alaska Photo DVD Now Available

Now $9.99 for a limited time only