Alaska News

What’s the oldest city in Alaska?

Unearthing the Roots of Alaska: Sitka, the Oldest City

In the rugged and remote tapestry of Alaska’s history, one city stands out as the oldest continuously inhabited settlement by non-Native Americans: Sitka. Perched on the edge of Baranof Island, Sitka’s origins trace back to 1799, when Alexander Baranof, a Russian trader and navigator, established it as a hub for fur trading.

From Russian Colony to American Territory

Sitka’s significance burgeoned as it became the capital of Russian America until the Alaska Purchase in 1867, when the United States acquired Alaska from Russia. The transfer ceremony was held in Sitka, marking a pivotal moment in both the city’s and the state’s history. Sitka’s influence waned after the capital was moved to Juneau, but its legacy as the oldest city in Alaska remains intact.

Preserving History Amidst Modernity

Today, Sitka is a blend of cultural heritage and natural beauty, attracting tourists and history enthusiasts alike. The city preserves its historical landmarks, such as the St. Michael’s Cathedral and the Sitka National Historical Park, which commemorates the 1804 Battle of Sitka between the Tlingit people and Russian traders.


Q: What is the oldest city in Alaska?
A: Sitka is recognized as the oldest city in Alaska.

Q: When was Sitka established?
A: Sitka was established in 1799 by Alexander Baranof.

Q: Why is Sitka historically significant?
A: Sitka was the capital of Russian America and the site of the Alaska Purchase transfer ceremony.


Non-Native Americans: People who are not part of the indigenous populations of the Americas.
Russian America: The name for the Russian colonial possessions in North America from 1733 to 1867, which included parts of what is now Alaska.
Alaska Purchase: The acquisition of Alaska by the United States from the Russian Empire in 1867.