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St. Michael's Cathedral, Sitka

Religious Site · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
St. Michael's Cathedral (Russian: Собор Архангела Михаила Sobor Arkhangela Mikhaila, also known as the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel) is a cathedral of the Orthodox Church in America Diocese of Alaska, at Lincoln and Matsoutoff Streets in Sitka, Alaska. The earliest Orthodox cathedral in the New World, it was built in the nineteenth century, when Alaska was under the control of Russia, though this structure burned down in 1966. After 1872, the cathedral came under the control of the Diocese of Alaska. It had been a National Historic Landmark since 1962, notable as an important legacy of Russian influence in North America and Southeast Alaska in particular.
An accidental fire destroyed the cathedral during the night of January 2, 1966, but it was subsequently rebuilt. The new building's green domes and golden crosses are a prominent landmark in Sitka. Some of the icons date to the mid-17th century; two icons are by Vladimir Borovikovsky.

St. Michael's Cathedral is located in the downtown business district in Sitka, on the southwestern coast of Baranof Island in the Alexander Archipelago of Southeastern Alaska. Its surroundings along Lincoln Street and Maksutoff Street, which ends at the cathedral, have not altered much during the last more than 100 years. Harrigan Centennial Hall on Harbor Drive lies behind the cathedral, while Pioneers' Home is to its left. The restored Russian Bishop's House, home of the first Orthodox Bishop of Alaska, Innocent (Veniaminov), is also nearby, operated by the National Park Service as part of the Sitka National Historical Park.

By using our Sitka day trip site, you can arrange your visit to St. Michael's Cathedral and other attractions in Sitka.
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St. Michael's Cathedral reviews

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393 reviews
  • What can I say about this iconic landmark in the middle of downtown Sitka. The history behind it, the photos and paintings about this beautiful Russian Orthodox Church is something you’ll alway...  more »
  • Maybe I'm a bit biased because I'm Orthodox, but this cathedral is beautiful and we really enjoyed the visit. Even with a lot of people in it, everybody was quiet and respectful that we could really....  more »
  • The church’s best feature is its architecture. Very old and photogenic. It is still an active church, and is historic. The story about the icon is amazing - worthstopping.  more »
  • I took a quick look around the church. It's not very big but $5 is worth it to see relics and icons from another church if you are interested. It is fascinating to learn some of the things the Russian church brought here and their efforts to translate the Bible into the native language.
  • Beautiful church. I live in Sitka and to clarify, they charge $5 entry to tourists because they are a tiny congregation of mostly elderly and receive no outside help to maintain the structure. The “required donation” helps keep the building standing.
  • Absolutely beautiful church, came up to Alaska to visit family and ended up finding myself. With religious structure after another I now find myself on a pilgrimage. This building validates my love for Russian and Eastern European history and culture. And who knew I would come so close to a crazy Russian historical sites.
  • It was a nice Cathedral but for some odd reason they charge for entry. Which is weird for a church to do that. We are of the same religion and were able to get in free.
  • We had a "underground" tour of the church, on Alaska Day". It was very informative and historical.

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