"Quiet Old Believers Village Near Homer" Nikolaevsk by AlbuqRay

Nikolaevsk Travel Guide: 5 reviews and 17 photos

Information About Nikolaevsk

The first Old Believer settlers on the Kenai Peninsula received a grant from the Tolstoy Foundation in New York and purchased land there in 1967. Nikolaevsk was settled around 1968 by five families whose ancestors fled Russia some one hundred years ago and originally settled in Woodburn, Oregon after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 forced them out of Russia. The town remains a largely ethnic Russian town to this day. Many of the residents speak an archaic form of the Russian language that is familiar to descendants of Russian families from other areas of the Kenai Peninsula.

The population of the community consists of 4.9% Alaska Native or part Native. The community includes Russian Orthodox, Russian Old Believers (Old Right Believers) and some non-Russians, living in three distinct settlements. The Old Believers in this area lead a family-oriented, self-sufficient lifestyle. They use modern utilities, and food sources are from gardening, small livestock, fishing and hunting. Families are typically very large (8 to 12 children.) Traditional clothing is worn, Russian is the first language, and the church dictates that males do not shave. Boys typically marry at age 15 or 16, while girls are married at 13 or 14. The first school opened in an 8-by-20-foot trailer in 1972. Until 1980, students attended classes through the ninth grade, then began their adult lives; many students now go on to complete their education.

It is not easy to find information about Nikolaevsk. Nina Fefelov tells us that the population in 2002 was almost 500 people. That same year the school had 132 students. Evidently basketball in Nikolaevsk School is very popular. Students play with other "big" and small schools like Soldotna, Kenai, Homer, Ninilchik and Seldovia. With their Russian heritage, I bet there are some tall students and good basketball players in Nikolaevsk.

Intersection By the Church

Turn here to go to the Samovar Cafe.

Church of St. Nicholas

There is a beautiful church in Nikolaevsk. The Church of St. Nicholas was built in 1983. See a separate tip for more information and pictures.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful church and a fun place to eat
  • Cons:Kind of remote
  • In a nutshell:Worth the drive just to meet Nina Fefelov
  • Last visit to Nikolaevsk: Aug 2007
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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