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Culture

Local artist displaying caribou skin masks in Anaktuvuk Pass

The Far North region of Alaska encompasses the communities of Nome, Kotzebue and Barrow. North of the Arctic Circle, these towns offer cultural attractions that are closely tied to the rich Native heritage of the area.

Nome has a special combination of traditional Eskimo culture and a gold rush past. Travelers may want to rent a car and tour the 300-plus miles of road system surrounding Nome. Nome also marks the finish of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, the longest dog sled race in the world. The town of 4,000 swells to many times that size every March with the arrival of the much-anticipated race finish.

Located on a three-mile spit of land on the Chuckchi Sea, Kotzebue has much to offer cultural travelers. Among its attractions is the NANA Museum of the Arctic, local history and cultural films at the park service and the Senior Center Cultural Center.

Barrow is located at the tip of the Far North region, situated on the coast of the Arctic Ocean. A walking tour of the town includes a visit to the Cape Smyth Whaling and Trading Station, built in 1893. This is the oldest frame building in the Arctic. Also, visitors can see the Birnirk archaeological site, a group of 16 dwelling mounds representing the Birnirk culture (500-900 A.D.). Guests can witness the unique whaling culture of the Eskimos every spring when the annual bowhead whale hunt and festival gets underway.