Sumy is the administrative center of Sumy region. The area of the region is 23,800 sq km. The population of the region is 1,431,000. The population of the city is more than 300,000.
Sumy was founded in the middle of the seventeenth century in the stead of an old Slav city of Lypetsk (nothing to do with the modem Russian city of Lipetsk) completely ruined by Mongol-Tartars in the 13th century.
Sumy was one of the most heavily fortified cities in the northern Ukraine. It was the HQ of the Slobidsky Cossack Regiment.
Commander K. Arsenyev guided the construction of the fortress. He reported to the Russian tsar Alexei that on the Psyol river the town had been built.
A legend about hunting bags ("sumy" in Ukrainian) says that the three hunting bags full of gold were found in an oak-tree wood. It was like a blessing sign for the people to start the town at that place. For this or that reason but the three hunting bags appeared on the banner of the Sumy Cossack regiment as the town's emblem which in 1781 was officially recognised as the town's coat of arms.
Cossack Chieftain Gerasim Kon-dratiev who brought the first Cossack regiment to the town is considered the founder of Sumy. The town became an insurmountable barrier for tatars on the southern boundary of Moscow Rus. In the autumn of 1708 the town-fortress was preparing for its last defence.
The threat of being captured by the Europe's strongest army of Swedes was so considerable that Peter the Great himself spent two months in the town devoting all his time to the fortification work.
In 1786 the town's centre with the ramshackle fortress was reconstructed into new housing estates. The old houses have been preserved up to our days. They present the art of building of the 18th century classicism. The railway connected Sumy with the major industrial and commercial centres.
The town was flourishing: new brick houses, large shops, educational institutions, banks, public gardens sprang one after another. And all that could happen thanks to the owners of local enterprises, above all to the owner of the sugar refineries Ivan Kharitonenko.
In 1939 Sumy became an administrative centre of the Sumy region. The industrial potential of the town was growing on and on. But during World War II the citizens experienced the two years of fascist occupation.
After the war chemical, machine-building and instrument-making industries began develop. Sumy has changed greatly by now. Those who happen to come to Sumy enjoy its fascinating sites, unforgettable historical environment and hospitality of the Sumy folk.