In 1799, the Russian explorer Alexander Baranof founded New Archangel next to the Tlingit village of Sitka.
This was the beginning of permanent Russian settlement in North America. But New Archangel was destroyed three years later by the Tlingit Indians in an attempt to reclaim their ancestral home. Their brief victory ended in 1804, when Baranof returned with warships and retook Sitka in the Battle of Alaska. Sitka was now the captial of Russian America.
In 1867, the Imperial Russian flag was replaced by the Stars and Stripes when the United States purchased Alaska. With the discovery of gold, and the rapid population growth that followed, Alaska's capital was moved north to Juneau in 1906.
Today, picturesque Sitka, sitting opposite snow-capped Mount Edgecumbe, is known for its fishing, its annual summer classical-music festival and, of course, its many historic visitor attractions.
Enjoy what is truly an outdoorsman's paradise, with activities you won't find anywhere else. Go for a bike ride and enjoy marine wildlife viewing, hiking, kayaking, nature watching, fishing, ocean rafting and more.
St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Cathedral
An outstanding example of Russian architecture, the cathedral, originally built in 1848, contains an important collection of orthodox art and church treasures and is the seat of the Diocese in Alaska.
Alaska Raptor Center
Dedicated to providing medical care for injured bald eagles and other birds, this non-profit 17-acre center also features a Raptors-in-Residence program that provides a home for birds unable to re-enter the wild.
Navigate narrow island passages and open bays for an up close look at stunning Alaska wildlife, including whales, sea lions, and bald eagles, that live along the beautiful coastal landscape.
Sheldon Jackson Museum
Established in 1887 by Rev. Sheldon Jackson, Alaska's first museum houses a collection of artifacts from various Alaska Native groups as well as a gift shop featuring native artists' crafts.
Sitka National Historical Park
Alaska's oldest national park was established in 1910 to commemorate the 1804 Battle of Sitka and features stunning coastal trails, towering spruce trees and an extensive totem pole collection.
Sitka Sound Science Center
Home of an active salmon hatchery, saltwater aquariums, and touch tanks where the undersea life is at your fingertips. Exhibits and displays teach about the animals living in the ocean surrounding Sika.
Fortress of the Bear
View Alaska brown bears as you would encounter them in the wild at this non-profit bear rescue facility. Tour the three-quarter acre habitat and sanctuary for orphaned cubs and watch them from viewing platforms.