Saint Michael’s Cathedral (or, formally, the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel) is a great example of old Russian church architecture as well as being an active church. The original cathedral was built in 1844-48 when Sitka was the Seat of the Russian Orthodox Diocese. For well into the 20th century, it was the largest and most imposing religious edifice in Alaska.
The original cathedral burned to the ground in 1966, but was rebuilt 10 years later according it its original design, with modern fire-resistant materials. The old building was built of logs and clapboard siding with wood shingles. The new building has concrete and steel walls, vinyl siding and asphalt shingles. The domes, instead of the old metal, are now made of copper roofing.
Many of the original art pieces, icons, and religious objects were saved or salvaged from the fire and are displayed inside the new structure. A lot of them were donated by wealthy Russians and Imperial government officials in the early 19th century. These include breathtakingly beautiful ikon screens dividing the nave and the chapels from the altars. Other ikons are hung on the walls and even more that once were displayed are now protected in five sealed cases.
Built in a highly visible spot in the middle of a roundabout, Saint Michael’s Cathedral remains a prime representative of 19th century Russian cultural influence in North America. It is now open to the public as a National Historic Landmark.
HOURS AND FEES
Open 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on large cruise ship days, or check posted hours on the door.
Sundays - open by appointment only.
A $2.00 donation is requested.
Phone: (907) 747-8120
Website: St. Michael's Cathedral