City of Sumy were founded by Colonel Gerasim Kondratyev, who came to the site with a group of Cossack settlers from the town Stavishche of Bilotserkivskyi Regiment.
sumy_krepostFortress «Sumin Town» was built in an oak forest, walls were built from oak decks, a fortress rampart and a deep ditch dug were constructed as well. The fortress were complemented by the natural fortifications: Psyol, Suma and Sumka rivers encircled three sides of the city. Sumy fortress was one of the largest and most fortified fortresses of Slobozhanshchina region.
Sumy became the center of Slobodsky Cossack Regiment which defended the southern borders of Russia and Ukraine against the attacks of the Crimean Tatars. City administration reported to the Belgorod governor, local affairs were managed by the town hall. The population of Sumy was 2740 people according to the census of 1660.
In 1659, 1663 and 1668 the city was attacked by Tatars. Despite the sieges, the Tatars have never managed to seize the city.
Sumy fortress played the role of the assembly point of the Russian troops during the Crimean campaigns in 1687 and 1689. The merits of Sumy regiment were acknowledged by numerous charters.
voskresenska_tserkivThe oldest stone building in the city, the Church of Revival (lately re-built into the Holy Resurrection Cathedral), was built. The architecture of the church is an amazing example of the Cossack Baroque. The church was built at the expense of the first Sumy colonels Gerasim and Andrew Kondratyevs and it is their ancestral burial.
During the Great Northern War of 1700-1721 the town played an important strategic role. On December 26, 1708 Peter the Great moved his military headquarter to Sumy, on January 9, 1709 his son prince Alexey brought three reserve regiment to Sumy from Moscow. Peter the Great spent the whole winter of 1709 in Sumy. He supervised and managed numerous improvements to the Sumy fortress fortifications in order to be prepared for a possible failure in the battle with the Swedish army of Charles XII.
Sumy Hussars Regiment was formed from Sumy Slobodsky Cossack Regiment. Between 1730 and 1790 Sumy fortress had lost its role as the stronghold and the military base of the Russian army.
sumy-gerbSumy fortress was granted the status of the city. The city’s name derives from Suma and Sumka rivers that surrounded the city from two sides. One of the legends mentions that three hunting bags with gold coins were found at the site («suma» is translated as «a bag» from Ukrainian and Russian). This legend was reflected in the city’s coat of arms adopted in 1781. The coat of arms displays three black bags with crossbelts and gold buttons on the panel of a rectangular shape. Around 7700 people lived in Sumy in 1732, by 1773 the population has grown to 9380 residents.
early 19-th century
A city plan from the early 19-th century reflects the transformation of Sumy into the capital city of a district. City of Sumy was known in Slobodska Ukraine and Russia as a trade-fair center. A number of factories was build during those years, including soap, candle, tallow and leather factories. In 1850 the city’s population was 10256 people.
late 19-th century
sumy-stantsiyaSince the mid 19-th century, the city’s look has changed dramatically thanks to the efforts of famous city patrons — Kharytonenko family. Construction of the railway line Lyubotin — Sumy — Vorozhba in 1878 and adoption of the telegraphic communication in the early 1870’s have strengthened the economic ties of Sumy with other regions of Ukraine and Russia.
early 20-th century
sumy-sobornaAt the beginning of the 20-th century active industrial development, that often involved foreign capital, has started in the city of Sumy. Two major industrial enterprises built at that time are the machine-building factory of Anonymous Belgian Society and Kharytonenko’s sugar refining plant, which was one of the largest in the Russian Impire. In 1920’s Sumy became the center of a county and a region.
Sumy became the center of Sumy Region (Sumy Oblast) formed on January 10, 1939.
World War II claimed the lives of many thousands of Sumy residents. Many industrial enterprises, residential and public buildings in the city were destroyed. The city was occupied by German forces from October 10, 1941 till September 2, 1943.
late 20-th century
In the post-war years the city was developing rapidly. Many houses, public buildings and roads were built. New cinemas, theaters, schools and museums were constructed at that time. City’s population increased dramatically (to over 300 thousand people) during the second half of the 20-th century due to expansion of the machine-building industry (JSC «Frunze»), construction of a chemical plant in 1953 (JSC «Sumykhimprom»), motor pumping plant, electron microscopy plant, steel pipes plant and porcelain factory.
early 21-th century
Currently, the city of Sumy is actively developing. According to the population census of 2005 Sumy had 302 thousand residents.