Blog Photography Articles
Sitka Alaska Photos, Southeast Alaska
Sitka, the fifth largest city in Alaska (population 8,947 - 2005 est.), is situated on Baranof Island, on the outer coast of Southeast Alaska. Sitka is is situated on Baranof Island, nestled between forested mountains and the great Pacific Ocean, on the outer waters of Alaska's Inside Passage. Surrounded by island-studded waters and stately spruce forests reaching to the water's edge, Sitka is considered Alaska's most beautiful seaside town.
Sitka's past is a unique blend of Tlingit culture and Russian history. The area was originally settled by the native Tlingit (Kolosh) Indians and taken over by the Russians under Alexandr Baranov in 1804. The Sitka Lutheran Church, built in 1840, was the first Protestant church on the Pacific Coast. The Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Michael was founded in 1848, and St. Peter's by-the-Sea Episcopal Church was consecrated as "The Cathedral of Alaska" in 1900.
Sitka was the site of the ceremony in which the Russian flag was lowered and the United States flag raised after Alaska was purchased by the United States in 1867 after the sea otter pelt trade died out. The flag lowering and raising event is re-enacted in Sitka every October 18 (Alaska Day). After the original ceremony, the entire U.S. government presence in Alaska until the Klondike Gold Rush consisted of a single customs inspector on the island. Sitka would serve as the capital of the Alaska Territory until 1906, when the seat of government was relocated north to Juneau. The state's first newspaper, The Sitka Times, was published by Barney O. Ragan on September 19, 1868.
Sitka offers a combination of Native culture, Russian history, and Alaskan wilderness and lies at the heart of the largest temperate rain forest in the world, the Tongass National Forest. Many tourists visiting Alaska make Sitka a top destination on their list. Cruise ships visit the small community but residents have mixed feelings about the influence of industrial tourism on their town and way of life.
Saint Michaels Cathedral
St. Michael's Russian Orthodox church contains an important collection of Russian Orthodox art & church treasures. Built in 1844-48, it was totally destroyed by fire in January 1966. Many of the icons and religious objects were salvaged and are in the rebuilt structure. The building stands as a hallmark feature in downtown Sitka, and it is still used today for religious practice as well as tourism and education.
Sitka National Historic Park
The name Sitka means "People on the Outside of Shee," Sheet’-ká, being the Tlingit name for Baranof Island. The town is often referred to as "Sitka-by-the-Sea." © Patrick J. Endres
Totem poles depict clan story and history. © Patrick J. Endres
Branof Castle Hill State Historic Site, Sitka, Alaska. © Patrick J. Endres
Mount Edgecumbe, a 3,200-foot-tall dormant volcano, is located on Kruzof Island. It can be seen on a clear day from Sitka. © Patrick J. Endres
The present cathedral is a reconstruction of the original building which burned to the ground in January 1966. © Patrick J. Endres
The park is located at the site of the Tlingit fort, near the mouth of the Indian River, where the Battle of Sitka took place between the Tlingit and Russians/Aleuts in 1804. © Patrick J. Endres
Alaska Raptor Center provides medical treatment to injured bald eagles and other birds. The Alaska Raptor Center's 17-acre campus borders the Tongass National Forest. © Patrick J. Endres
Sheet'ka Kwaan Naa Kahadi dancers perform at the Tlingit, Sitka Tribe of Alaska Community House in Sitka, Alaska. © Patrick J. Endres
Sitka has the largest harbor system in the State of Alaska. © Patrick J. Endres
Trolling vessel at sunset, Mount Edgecumbe, Sitka, Alaska. © Patrick J. Endres