Cruising Alaska Off-Season — Sitka; St. Michael’s Cathedral


Time to head over to probably the main attraction for this wonderfully photogenic and historically significant town. As you’ll recall from Monday’s article, Ovation of the Seas deposited us in Sitka on Monday, 28 September of this year. After departing the ship, we took a 12-minute shuttlebus ride into town, getting off in the parking lot of the Sitka Historical Society Museum along Crescent Bay. Less than five minutes’ walk from the drop-off point get you to the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel, also known more simply as St. Michael’s Church.

St. Michael’s Church

As you can see from the photos above, St. Michael’s sports classic Eastern/Russian Orthodox design elements, including the distinctive Russian Orthodox cross, the onion cupola atop the dome, and the spire above the bell tower. Let’s take a closer view of that bell tower:

St. Michael’s Bell Tower

The St. Michael’s you see depicted here is not the same structure that was completed in 1848, but it’s a very close recreation based upon detailed drawings made in 1961. Those drawings turned out to be a blessing, as the original structure burned down in a tragic fire in 1966. How close did they get? Below is how the church appeared in 1887:

While the exterior appears very original, once inside one would never suspect that they weren’t in the original structure:

St. Michael’s interior
St. Michael’s interior

Here are the elaborately decorated doors leading to the sanctuary:

Sanctuary doors, St. Michael’s
Sanctuary doors, St. Michael’s

And inside the sanctuary of an Orthodox church is where one finds the altar:

St. Michael’s altar

Look above the doors leading to the sanctuary for more design elements:

Above the entrance to the sanctuary, St. Michael’s

I’ll leave you today with three more St. Michael’s images:

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