Aleutian Islands: Unalaska – Church of the Holy Ascension

Before Alaska became American, it was in Russian hands for several centuries, since mid 1700s colonization when Russian fur traders arrived here from Chukotka and Kamchatka and brought Russian Orthodox religion to the Aleutian locals. Many Russian customs, traditions, and cuisine took a firm hold in the Aleutian Islands and this church is a glaring prime example. The spectacular classic-Russian-onion-dome-style Church of the Holy Ascension was built in 1808 in the shape of a cruciform. White-washed with green domes is feels out of place here, especially with the symbolic Russian Orthodox crosses and graveyard in front. Inside, there are priceless antique Russian icons (supposedly around 700 of them) and artifacts, covered with plastic to protect against the humid and frigid elements of the local weather. Iconic American bold eagles sat proudly on top of the crosses on top of the onion domes, occasionally screaming and pooping.