Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for Russian America

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Russian America was the name of Russian colonial territories in the Americas from 1733-1867. The territories included what is now the state of Alaska. The Alaskan land was sold to the United States by the Russians in 1867.

Because of this history, there is still a strong Russian influence in Alaska, particularly in the city of Sitka. Called New Archangel by the Russians, Sitka was the capital of Russian America.

Reminders of the Russian colonization of Alaska include the Russian Bishop's House, which is one of the sole remaining examples of Russian colonial architecture in North America, The New Archangel Dancers, who promote interest in Alaska's Russian history, and St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Cathedral, which is a National Historic Landmark. The original cathedral, shown above, burned in 1966 but was subsequently rebuilt in the same Russian architectural style.

I've always thought Russian architecture was really interesting, so I think I'd love visiting Sitka. 

My A-Z theme of Alaska is inspired by my debut novel, Polar Night, which is set in Fairbanks and the Alaskan Arctic. Click here for all the info on the book. 


  1. U know I always thot Laska will be sparsely poulated with eskimos :)

  2. U know I always thot Laska will be sparsely poulated with eskimos :)

  3. I did not know that Russia sold Alaska to America. Cool fact sharing.

  4. It would be really unusual to see Russian style buildings in an American city.

  5. I love this trip around the world you are taking me on! Juliet atCity Muse Country Muse

  6. I didn't know Alaska belonged to the Russians before.

  7. What an awesome cathedral too bad it burned down.

  8. Very interesting history, I had no idea. I have friend that recently took a trip to Russia and her photos of the archetecture is amazing. Interesting that we in America share this history through Alaska....really, didn't know!

  9. I knew Alaska was once part of Russia and it's interesting to see what remains of their culture there.

  10. I'd love to visit Sitka. In the summer months:)

  11. It's been fun learning so much about Alaska from you. Sitka does look like a fascinating place to visit.


  12. There was this Russian dude who owned a coffee shop outside of Portland, and he was about the biggest person I've ever seen. Not fat, but tall as a tree and built like a football player. Pretty, too. Husband Unit claims that's why I remember him 10 years later.

  13. I think I'd rather visit Russia (like Moscow). I've heard they got some of the best prostitutes in the world there.

  14. I love Russian architecture! It's very unique.

    I always forget how close Russia is to Alaska, and then I remember the Saturday Night Live Tina Fey/Sarah Palin skit where she says "I can see Russia from my house!"

    Happy Saturday :)

  15. wow so Sarah Palin really could see Russia from Alaska

  16. Russian architecture is very unique. It stands out, with its domes and spires. They don't look anything like the domes in Arabic countries, having their own flair which seems to suit the more frigid temperatures of the north than the sweeping heat of the south. Very majestic-looking.

  17. I had no idea there was a Russian American history like that! Fascinating.

    I have never visited Russia, but I really hope to someday. You're right about their architecture!

  18. Alaska was once part of Russia? Very interesting fact.
    Thanks for the history lesson!

    Writer In Transit

  19. Hi Julie - the mix of peoples up in Alaska must be quite eclectic .. it's too cold for me - but I agree the architecture and traditions would be fascinating to see and find out about ..

    Cheers Hilary

  20. @Meena, not anymore I guess!

    @Sheena, I didn't know much about it either, interesting to learn about.

    @Alex, I think so too.

    @Juliet, glad you are enjoying it, thanks!

    @Al, it was news to me as well.

    @Cathrina, isn't it? It must have been gorgeous.

    @Texas, I'd love to visit Russian someday, I bet her pics are awesome.

    @Medeia, I agree.

    @Ink, me too LOL.

    @Julie, I think so too, maybe someday.

    @Mary, LOL I bet your husband is right about why you remember him. :D

    @Michael LOL well I hope you get your wish and visit someday. :D

    @Samantha, yeah, who can forget that? :D

    @Carol, me too!

    @David, LOL. :D

    @Laura, totally agree. And I think it's so interesting how different regions all have their own unique architecture.

    @Trisha, glad you liked it!

    @Michelle, my pleasure! It was a lesson for me too LOL.

    @Hilary, yeah, too cold for me as well but maybe sometime in the summer. :)

  21. I've always liked the Russian architecture and they seemed to have a certain flair in a lot of their work.

  22. I think that after all this and your book, you will be going to Alaska real soon. How about catching a bit of the Midnight Sun. For me, coming from Sweden, there's nothing better.

  23. I had no idea! Russian architecture is beautiful.

  24. That is so neat! I'm learning so much about Alaska from your posts. :)

  25. Interesting. I love that pic you found!

  26. I love that building. It's such a distinctive style.

  27. @Mark, flair is a good word for it, I totally agree.

    @Inger, I would love to do that! :)

    @Annalisa, isn't it?

    @Christine, I learned a ton too LOL.

    @Tyrean, isn't it cool? I just loved it too.

    @Rosalind, totally agree.

  28. Greetings human Laura,

    Yes, it's me, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar! A delight to have met you on the site I so kindly allow my human to share.

    I see you are doing that alphabet challenge. Interesting theme in regards to Alaska. My human is from British Columbia and always wanted to visit Alaska. Maybe when he next goes back to Canada he can make it up there.

    The magical wee folks who live in my garden have a fondness for 'Gnome', Alaska. I think I got that right :) Happy alphabeting, my human friend.

    Pawsitive wishes,

    Penny :)

  29. I too like the Gothic style buildings, hubby would like to get a travel trailer and drive to Alaska...I think he's nuts. Can't imagine sitting that long in the car.


  30. History is amazing. Thanks for these intros into Alaskan history. Writer’s Mark

  31. @Penny, aww, thanks for coming by! Pawsitive wishes back to you. :)

    @Sandy, I wouldn't want to be in a car that long either but it does seem like an amazing trip.

    @Nancy, I agree, I've always loved learning about history.

  32. Fifteen years ago, we went on an Alaskan cruise. Sadly, Sitka was not on the ports of call.

  33. @Susan, oh, that's too bad. I bet it was an amazing cruise though.


Thank you for your comments!