The most striking symbol of Russian influence in Sitka  is St. Michael’s Cathedral (907/747-8120), right in the center of town. Built in 1848, the building burned down in 1966 but was replaced by a replica a decade later. The original Russian artifacts and icons, including the Sitka Madonna (purportedly a miraculous healer), were saved from the fire and have been returned to their original setting in this, the mother church for all of Alaska’s 20,000 Russian Orthodox.
During the summer, the church ($2) is open Monday–Friday 9 a.m.–4 p.m. or whenever a large cruise ship is in port. It’s open by appointment at other times but is not open to tourists during religious services.