History & Culture

Our first people, the Tlingit, arrived and settled on the land now known as Sitka some 10,000 years ago. Historic Katlian Street has been a thoroughfare for about 5,000 years.

Historical and cultural tourism is a grown sector of the visitor industry. The Sitka Tribe of Alaska operates their own tours focused on the rich history and culture of the Tlingit people. Over 16 percent of Sitka's population is of Tlingit ancestry contributing to Sitka's cultural diversity and maintaining traditions that go back thousands of years.

The Sitka National Historical Park is open all year and provides an in depth look at the period of Sitka's history when the Tlingit and the Russians clashed in the 1804 Battle of Sitka.

The Russian settlement at Sitka is covered in artifacts and documents on display in the Sitka Historical Society Museum. The museum is open all year.

Although the original Russians that settled here, left after the purchase of Alaska by the United States, Russian heritage and culture remain a part of Sitka's current scene. New Russian immigrants have arrived. The New Archangel Dancers perform traditional Russian folk dances during the summer visitor season and there are a number of gift shops and galleries with traditional arts and crafts imported from Russia and Russian inspired original works made in Alaska.

Opportunities exist to expand or develop new business based on the growing market for heritage and cultural tourism. 
Sitka's WWII history remains virtually untapped as a resource for tour and independent visitor industry development.