Visitors to the town of Sitka won’t be able to miss the heavy legacy of both Native and Russian history in the area. Originally occupied by Tlingit Indians, Sitka was founded in 1799 by Alexander Baranof, territorial governor of Russian America. After much strife between the Russians and the Tlingits, peace was eventually established and Sitka became known as the capitol city of Russian America.
Sitka is Alaska’s fourth largest city and has a population of almost 9,000 people. Located in the Alexander Archipelago, it is accessible only via air or sea. Once there, visitors may rent cars, utilize taxis or even tour via bicycle. Weather is mild and often rainy, with an average rainfall of 95 inches per year.
Shore excursions include outdoor adventures such as the Sea Life Discovery Semi-Submersible vessel, which gives guests an up close view of Sitka’s kelp forests and marine wildlife. Visitors can also explore the area with a kayak tour or enjoy the Sitka Bike and Hike tour, a guided 3 hour tour that takes you on a 5 mile jaunt and ending at Theobroma Chocolate Factory for a sweet reward. The Alaska Raptor Center is another unusual and not-to-be-missed experience, where visitors can view Alaska’s birds of prey in an outdoor setting and learn about the center’s wildlife rehabilitation projects. Those who would like to see the cultural history of the area can visit the Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center for an educational experience in native art, or the Sheldon Jackson museum, home to one of the oldest native collections in Alaska. For a view into Russia’s influence, visit the Russian and Lutheran Cemetery or the Russian Bishop’s house, built in 1842 and one of the few remaining Russian log structures in Alaska.
Sitka has over 200 hotel rooms available, as well as bed and breakfasts, lodges and vacation rentals. Shopping and restaurants are plentiful and accommodating, with plenty of galleries and gift shops throughout the town.
Alaska cruises that visit Sitka Alaska:
Holland America Line:
• ms Oosterdam, ms Westerdam
• Grand Princess
Additional Sitka Alaska cruise information:
• Sitka Convention & Visitors Bureau
Official site for the Sitka Convention & Visitors Bureau. Site includes a nice photo slide show, business directory, web cam and plenty of information on things to do around Sitka.