Sitka, Alaska, US
Information Not Currently Available
Approximately 2½ Hours
Meals not included
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 American pioneer town. This rich cultural environment has led to an endearing heritage that you'll discover today.
Begin by boarding an air-conditioned motor coach 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 numerous scenic paths. Make your way to a beach trail lined with totem, stately reminders of Native traditions and the values of tribal culture. Follow your guide for a short, optional walk along the spruce-lined paths and learn about the area's edible and medicinal plants, rain forest 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.
Re-board your coach and travel to a historic Tlingit village area, located in the heart of beautiful downtown Sitka. Step inside the modern rendition of a traditional clan-style house called Sheet'ka Kwaán Naa Kahídi or 'Community House for All the People of Sitka'. At the entrance, two large panels represent the eagle and raven -- iconic symbols of the Tlingit Nation. Gather around a central fire pit and drums, swirling robes and beadwork will mesmerize as traditional songs float through the air. You'll experience authentic Tlingit Native stories and songs, designed to inspire, revitalize, restore and preserve the language, values and customs of the Tlingit people.
A panoramic drive showcases the Russian-American cultural aspects that have shaped Sitka over the last 150 hundred years. Watch for the beautifully-restored Russian Bishop's House, which dates back to 1858, and, when possible, 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.
The Fort Ray Historic District was the site of headquarters for Sitka's World War II harbor defenses and the adjacent Naval Air Station. Although the fort was never completed, it evokes an era when Alaska was believed to be a prime target for Japanese attacks.
Guests who wish to stay in town to shop or explore independently are welcome to do so, but must make their own way back to the ship. You can take a self-guided tour of St Michael's Cathedral at your leisure.
Please note: The paths at Sitka National Historical Park are both paved and gravel. Dress warmly in layers; bring a rainproof outer layer. Wear comfortable walking shoes.