Sitka was different than our other Alaskan ports of call. Sitka is less visited than either Juneau or Ketchikan. The day that we were there, ours was the only cruise ship anchored off the shore.
Sitka isn’t a city of facades either, the way that much of Juneau and Ketchikan are. While the people of Sitka depend on tourism for a good portion of their economy, the city wasn’t totally oriented toward tourism. Case in point, we bought a lot of our souvenirs at the local Ben Franklin store on the main street of town.
Sitka was the hub of the Russian empire in America in the early 1800’s, and several remnants from this period live on.
The most noticeable of these remnants is the reconstructed Russian Orthodox Cathedral near the center of the city. There is an admission charged to enter, but it is worth having a look inside. It is very small for a cathedral, but it has some interesting artifacts and icons inside. Periodically through the day the Reader (a type of an unordained priest) will give a small lecture about Orthodox theology, the church itself, and some of the symbolism contained inside. You are free to ask him any questions that you would like.
Also in Sitka is the what remains of a Russian fort, and a few other buildings dating back to the Russian period.
Overall I enjoyed my stay in Sitka. The experience was vastly different than the one that I had in the other two Alaskan cities which we visited, but I can’t help but think that the actual experience in Sitka was more genuine.over 5 years ago