Sitka Alaska Hotels, Resort Accommodations

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The City and Borough of Sitka is a unified city-borough located on the west side of Baranof Island in the Alexander Archipelago of the Pacific Ocean (part of the Alaska Panhandle), in the U.S. state of Alaska. Sitka is the state's fourth-largest city by population and the largest city in the United States by area. The name Sitka (derived from Sheetká, a contraction of the Tlingit name Shee At'iká) means "People on the Outside of Shee," Sheet-ká X'áat'l (often expressed simply as Shee) being the Tlingit name for Baranof Island. The town is sometimes referred to as "Sitka-by-the-Sea." read full wikipedia reference about Sitka, Alaska One of the highlights of an Inland Passage ferry ride is negotiating the 46 tight turns of the 22-mile-long Wrangell Narrows between Wrangell and the "Norwegian" fishing town of Petersburg on the route north. At times it feels like you can reach out and touch the steep-walled shore, and at night the ferry has to negotiate a slalom course of navigation lights. Perched on the seaward edge of the Inside Passage and eleven hours from Petersburg, SITKA ranks as one of Alaska's prettiest and most historic towns. The Fuji-like Mount Edgecumbe volcano rises menacingly across Sitka Sound from the spot where Russian colonists established a fort in 1799. Under Russian occupation the town was rebuilt and christened Novaya Archangelsk (New Archangel), the capital of Russian America - a role it retained beyond the 1867 transfer of ownership to the US, until federal powers passed control to Juneau in 1906. Sitka today earns its keep mostly from fishing and tourism; it's all too keen to flog tacky "Russiocana" - you'll find more nesting dolls here than the rest of the US put together - but the town also has a wealth of great outdoor opportunities and a fine reputation for its festivals, especially the chamber-oriented Summer Music Festival each June and the Alaska Day Festival (celebrating the Russia-US transfer) on the days leading up to October 18. The best place to get a grasp of Sitka's Russian past and the lay of the land is from the rocky vantage point of Castle Hill , where Alaska was officially transferred to the US on October 18, 1867; an informative plaque marks the spot. A two-minute stroll to the heart of downtown leads to St Michael's Cathedral on Lincoln Street. A fine piece of rural Russian church architecture, completed in 1848 and rebuilt after a disastrous fire in 1966, it displays priceless original icons (daily 9am-4pm when cruise ships are in town). Guided tours take in the restored chapel, schoolroom and living quarters of the large mustard-colored 1842 Russian Bishop's House , by the harbor - a log structure that is the oldest standing building in Alaska (summer daily 9am-1pm & 2-5pm; rest of year by appointment; tel 907/747-6281). Four blocks further along at 104 College Drive, the Sheldon Jackson Museum (summer daily 9am-5pm; rest of year Tues-Sat 10am-4pm) houses a compact but extensive accumulation of Native artifacts. All of the tools, utensils and craft objects from Aleut, Athabascan, Tlingit and especially Aleut peoples were collected by the Rev Dr Sheldon Jackson on his wide-ranging travels throughout Alaska as a missionary and the territory's first General Agent for Education. At the end of Lincoln Street, in a verdant copse between ocean and creek, Sitka National Historic Park embraces both the town's Tlingit heritage and its days of Russian rule. When Tsarist troops attacked a Tlingit fort on this site in 1804, the natives withstood bombardment for six days, but after running out of gunpowder, decided to abandon the fort silently at night. The next day Russians stormed the stockades only to find them empty except for a few dead children, whom they alleged were murdered to accomplish the retreat in complete silence. Nothing remains of the fort except a grassy clearing, but the evocative air is enhanced by several vividly painted totem poles alongside the footpaths, all replicas of nineteenth-century classic designs. A visitor center (summer daily 8am-5pm; free) features good interpretive displays on what is commonly called the "Battle of Sitka," as well as hosting Native craft workshops. Sitka's trail system ranges from shoreside strolls to harder climbs up Gavan Hill and steep Mount Verstovia: for more information visit the Forest Service office , 201 Katlian St (tel 907/747-4220). OTHER POPULAR DESTINATIONS IN ALASKA
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