All About Sitka - Russian & Tlingit Heritage Discovery

2.5 hours | Sitka | S I T - 1 0 5
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$ 54.95
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Points of Interest

  • St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Cathedral
  • Sitka National Historical Park
Easy activity

Description

Be sure to read the Special Notes further down this page for important requirements and restriction.

Charming Sitka offers an abundance of cultural delights, stemming from its 10,000-year history as the home of the Tlingit people, its colorful past as a Russian settlement and symbol of an American pioneer town. This rich cultural environment has led to an endearing historical heritage that you'll discover on this two-and-a-half-hour excursion. To thoroughly enjoy the experience, wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a waterproof outer layer.

Begin by boarding your air-conditioned motorcoach at the pier for a brief ride to Sitka National Historical Park, Alaska's oldest national park. Established in 1910 to commemorate the 1804 Battle of Sitka, the park offers scenic paths lined with totem poles, stately reminders of the Natives' traditions and the values of tribal culture. Follow your guide for a short, optional walk along the spruce-lined walkways and learn about the area's edible and medicinal plants, rainforest ecology and the many uses of salmon. At the park's visitor center, you'll see crafts created by local artists, as well as ancient artifacts and a video presentation before heading to your next destination.

You'll reboard your motorcoach and travel to a historical Tlingit village area, located in the heart of beautiful downtown Sitka. Here, you'll experience authentic Tlingit Native stories and songs inside a traditional clan-style house called Sheet'ka Kwaán Naa Kahídi or " Community House for all the People of Sitka," which is used to inspire, revitalize, restore and preserve the language, values and customs of the Tlingit people. At the entrance stand two large panels representing the eagle and raven: iconic symbols of the Tlingit nation. Once you step inside the house you'll be invited to gather around a central fire pit and as the aroma of burning cedar fills the room, you'll hear the unmistakable sound of a drum echoing through the large room. Soon, swirling robes covered in flashing beadwork will mesmerize you while traditional songs float through the air.

On your way back to the ship, enjoy a brief sightseeing tour of the Russian and American cultural contributions made to Sitka over the last 150 hundred years. You'll pass many historic landmarks including the beautifully restored Russian Bishop's House, which dates back to 1858 when Sitka was the Russian colonial capital, and St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Cathedral, which was originally constructed in 1848 and houses a priceless collection of orthodox art and religious artifacts dating back to the 15th century. Another site you'll see is the Fort Ray Historic District, home to Fort Ray, headquarters for Sitka's World War II harbor defenses and the adjacent naval air station. Although the fort was never completed, it still stands testament to an era when Alaska was a prime target of Japanese attacks.

At the end of your journey, you may either return to your ship or choose to do further exploration on your own in Sitka's historic downtown where you can enjoy a self-guided tour of St. Michael's Cathedral at your leisure.

Special Notes:

Tour order may vary.

Unaccompanied Minors Policy: Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Tour timeline may vary to avoid overcrowding, etc.