Travel around the United States: the town of Sitka, Alaska

Sitka city: life, work, tourism and attractions

Sitka – American city in Alaska, which until 1867, was the capital of Russian America and was called Novo-Arkhangelsk. It is located on Baranova Island, which is part of the Alexander Archipelago. It is a popular tourist destination, with over 100,000 tourists arriving here annually on cruise ships.

Sitka offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, with frequent sightings of surfacing whales and flying eagles overhead. On the other side is a view of Mount Edjumb, which is a dormant volcano. Locals have a wealth of opportunities for outdoor activities: fishing and water trips, hiking and biking on the many organized trails. Local cafes and restaurants offer a huge selection of fresh seafood and fresh game. Downtown at Reindeer Redhots you can try the legendary hot dogs with reindeer meat.

General characteristics of the city

Population 9,530 people
Average age 39 years old
Average annual income per capita 70376
Unemployment rate 6,9%
Number of families below the poverty level 4,3%
Crime Twice as low as the U.S. average
School quality 7 out of 10
ZIP 99835

Sitka, Alaska, USA

Climate and weather

Sitka has an oceanic climate. Winters are mild with lots of rainfall. Summers are cool with moderate amounts of rain.

Indicator Jan. Feb. March April. May June July Avg. Sen. Oct. November Dec. Year
Absolute maximum, °C 15 16,1 15 24,4 27,8 29,4 31,1 28,9 25 20 18,3 15 31,1
Average temperature, °C 1,6 2,3 3,6 5,9 8,6 11,3 13,5 14,0 11,7 7,8 4,1 2,4 7,2
Absolute minimum, °C -17,8 -17,2 -15,6 -5,6 -1,7 1,7 5,6 4,4 -0,6 -6,7 -16,7 -17,2 -17,8
Precipitation norm, mm 198 162 156 124 123 89 110 174 287 351 257 226 2258

aerial view of the city

Real estate: renting and buying

Renting an apartment will be, on average, $1,057 per month. There are many budget options with a price tag of $500 to $1,000 per month.

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Price range $/month Percentage of total offers
Below $500 8,7%
From $500 to $1,000 36,4%
From $1,000 to $1,500 31%
From $1,500 to $2,000 14,5%
From $2,000 to $2,500 4,7%
From $2,500 to $3,000 4,4%

Buying real estate

The average cost of buying a home is $338600, which is just under 5 times a person’s annual income. Here, with a job, you can pay off your mortgage much faster than in many other states. According to official data, 40.8 percent of homes are owned. The number of renters is 59.2 percent.

Price range of real estate Percentage of total offers
Less than $50,000 6,6%
From $50,000 to $99,000 3,8%
From $100,000 to $149,000 2,7%
From 200 to 299 thousand dollars 19,9%
From $300 to $499 thousand 46,9%
From 500 to 999 thousand dollars 13,1%
$1,000,000 or more 1,7%

Real estate taxes

If you have already paid off your mortgage, your annual tax bill will average between $400 and $600. This is the amount 49.2% of the state’s residents pay.

Annual tax amount % of residents
$1k or more 4.2%
Between $250 and $399 16.8%
From $400 to $599 49,2%
From $600 to $799 17,1%
From $800 to $999 9%
Less than $250 3,7%
Property tax minus $0.5k 0,3%

If your property is in a mortgage, the payments will be higher. On average, such owners pay between $1,000 and $2,000 per year.


The main sector of employment in Sitka is fishing. It employs 18% of the city’s population. The tourism sector is strongly developed. The public education and health care systems are also major employers, employing 482 people and 250, respectively. The U.S. Coast Guard employs about 200 people.

Coast Guard in Sitka, USA

Education: universities, colleges and schools

The city has one institution of higher education, the University of Alaska Southeast, a division of the University of Alaska System. Sheldon Jackson College (SJC), a private college, closed in 2007 due to financial problems.

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Those wishing to pursue a career in military affairs or public safety go to the Alaska State Trooper Academy.

There are several schools in town, including:

Population: ethnic and racial composition

About 3% of the population speaks Russian, and 10% are descendants of Russian immigrants.

Racial composition of the population:

  • White – 64.9%,
  • Indians – 14.7%,
  • Asians 5.9% (mostly Filipinos),
  • Hispanics, 6%,
  • African Americans 1.1%,

Males make up 51.3% of the population and females 48.7%.

Medicine and health care

Sitka Community Hospital is centrally located and provides all types of medical care, including emergency care, urgent and elective surgery, treatment of all diseases, rehabilitation services, nursing and home visits.

Edjumb Hospital is located on Japanese Island, half a mile from the airport. It is the main primary care center for Alaska Natives and has several specialty clinics in areas such as neurology, orthopedics, ophthalmology, dermatology and dentistry.


On weekdays, there are two bus routes in the city that carry passengers from 06:30 to 19:30. Bicycles and personal vehicles are very popular among the locals.

The local airport, named after Rocky Gutierrez, is located in the city. Rocky Gutierrez Airport, located on Japanese Island, serves more than 65,000 passengers a year. The regular route network includes the cities of Anchorage, Juneau, Seattle and Ketchikan. In addition, the schedule includes seasonal flights to smaller communities in the region. The airlines present are Alaska Airlines, Delta Connection, and Harris Aircraft Services.

The Alaska Marine Highway System, a marine ferry system, connects Sitka to the mainland and the continental highway network all the way to the Canadian province of British Columbia. In the other direction, there are boat trips to most of the Aleutian Islands.

Russian traditions in Sitka

Sitka residents cherish their heritage and Russian traditions. The traditional Russian Christmas holiday is celebrated here annually. In March, the Day of Blessing of the Fleet is celebrated. During the summer there are a huge number of music, arts and crafts festivals. These include:

  • Summer Music Festival,
  • Harrigan Centennial Hall Concert Series.
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In October, Alaska Day is celebrated, symbolizing the territory’s transition from the Russian Empire to the United States.

The city is home to St. Michael’s Orthodox Cathedral, rebuilt in 1976 to a design by Russian architect S. N. Padukov. The original building was destroyed by a fire in 1966.

It gave away Alaska: the largest city in the United States

This is where they gave away Alaska: the largest city in the U.S.

This city in the United States is especially close to Russia. The reason is that it was founded by the Russians and for a long time it was the capital of Russian America. And yes, they gave away Alaska here. It is also the largest city in the United States by area.

Welcome to Sitka.

The largest city in the United States is called Sitka. Its total area reaches nearly 12,500 square kilometers. That’s about 10 times the size of New York or Los Angeles. True, about 5,000 square kilometers is Sitka’s water area, and most of the rest of the area is mountains overgrown with taiga, but this still makes it the largest city in the United States.

Sitka is in Alaska, and like many other cities in the state, is not densely populated. Only 9,000 people live in the city.

This is where they gave away Alaska: the largest city in the U.S.

Sitka was also once the capital of Russian America, as it was where the Russians settled in the 18th century. Let us tell briefly how it was)

Former Novo-Arkhangelsk.

Like most of the United States, before whites arrived on the mainland this area was inhabited by the Tlingit Indians, who were engaged in fishing and hunting. They were quite warlike, and other nations were afraid of them. However, Alexander Baranov, a native of the Russian Empire, was able to negotiate with the tribe and in 1799 he founded a fort on the bank of the creek, now known as Old Sitka. However, not three years later, the Indians killed almost all the inhabitants of the fort, but in 1804 the Russians again occupied this land, this time building a fort on a steep hill near the creek, which was more advantageous in strategic terms.

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This is where they gave away Alaska: the largest city in the U.S.

This settlement turned into Novo-Arkhangelsk, and from 1808 the city became the center of Russian settlements in Alaska, the Alexander Archipelago, and the Aleutian Islands – the capital of Russian America. These territories also included Elisabeth Fortress on one of the Hawaiian Islands, which at one time were planned to be annexed to the Russian Empire. In the 1840s the town already had more than a hundred houses, an Orthodox church, and a Lutheran church.

But in 1867 Russia decided to sell Alaska. It was in Novo-Arkhangelsk that the ceremony of transferring part of the continent to the United States was held. Around the same time, Novo-Arkhangelsk was renamed Sitka.

The city was still the capital of Alaska for a long time, until in the early twentieth century it was moved to Juneau.

What’s interesting about Sitka

In fact, even the fact that this city is the former capital of Russian America is already interesting. Now, of course, there are very few Russians, about 10% of the total population are descendants of the early settlers, and only 3% speak Russian. The people here mostly live off the fishing industry (not much has changed since the days of the Tlingit Indians, right?)), and the city is quite peaceful: crime rates are lower than in other Alaskan cities. Ecotourism is also growing in the region.

This is where they gave away Alaska: the largest city in the U.S.

Interesting facts about Sitka

Fact #1 . Sitka was settled by Tlingit Indians more than 10 thousand years ago.

Fact #2 . Alaska was sold for $7.2 million (about $0.05 per hectare).

Fact #3 . The transfer of Alaska took place on October 18. Every year on that day Alaska Day is celebrated, with a ceremony in Sitka to change the Russian flag to the American flag. The festivities last for a week: historical films and themed exhibitions are shown.

This is where they gave away Alaska: the largest city in the U.S.

Fact #4 . You can only get to Sitka from many cities by boat or plane. The city operates a ferry.

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Fact #5 . Despite the huge size of the city, Sitka’s roads are only 23 kilometers long.

Fact #6 . The romantic comedy The Proposal, starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, is set in Sitka. However, the scenes were actually filmed in Massachusetts.

Fact #7 . It rains an average of three days out of five in Sitka.

Fact #8 . The average monthly temperature in this region ranges from about 3 to 14 degrees Celsius.

Fact #9 . Russians began to develop Alaska as early as 1730, and in 1784 Grigory Shelikhov reportedly accustomed the locals to turnips and potatoes, and also spread Orthodoxy among some tribes.

Fact #10 . In 1848 the first Orthodox church in North America was built in Sitka. St. Michael’s Cathedral burned down in 1966, but it was rebuilt as close to the original as possible.

This is where they gave away Alaska: the largest city in the U.S.

Fact #11 . Sitka hosts a Whale Festival. It is dedicated to the migration of humpback whales through Sitka Bay.

Fact #12 . Sitka is home to the city’s raptor rehabilitation center and a history museum featuring indigenous and Russian migrant items.

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