Sumy (Ukrainian: Суми [ˈsumɪ] (listen)) is a city of regional significance in Ukraine, and the capital of Sumy Oblast. The city is situated on the banks of the Psel River in northeastern Ukraine with a population of 259,660[3] according to the 2021 census, making it the 23rd-largest in the country.

Skyline of Sumy (cropped).jpg
Дзвіниця Спасо-Преображенського собору в Сумах.jpg
Сумський обласний художній музей ім. Никанора Онацького .jpg
Пам'ятник Тарасу.jpg
Сумська Альтанка зима ніч.jpg
Sumy, Ukraine (31704434708).jpg
Top-down, left-right (from upper left): skyline of Sumy, bell tower of Transfiguration Cathedral, State Art Museum, Taras Shevchenko monument, Altanka, monument in downtown
Flag of Sumy
Coat of arms of Sumy
Sumy is located in Sumy Oblast
Sumy is located in Ukraine
Coordinates: 50°55′N 34°45′E / 50.917°N 34.750°E / 50.917; 34.750Coordinates: 50°55′N 34°45′E / 50.917°N 34.750°E / 50.917; 34.750
Country Ukraine
Urban districts
 • MayorOleksandr Lysenko (politician) [uk][1] (Batkivshchyna[2])
 • Total145 km2 (56 sq mi)
 • Total259,660
 • Density1,800/km2 (4,600/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (CEST)
Postal code
Area code+380 542
Twinned with Celle

The city of Sumy was founded in the 1650s by the Cossacks within the region of Sloboda Ukraine.


Central Sumy in 1897
Commemorative coin of Sumy's 350-year history

Sumy was founded by Cossack Herasym Kondratyev from Stavyshche, Bila Tserkva Regiment on the bank of the Psel River, a tributary of the Dnieper.[4] The date of its foundation is a subject of discussion (in 1652 or 1655).[4] In 1656–58 at the site of Sumyn early settlement, under the leadership of Muscovite voivode K. Arsenyev, there was built a city-fort that consisted of a fort and a grad (town).[4]

In the 1670s it was expanded by adding a fortified posad (craftsmen town), after which Sumy became the biggest fortress of Sloboda Ukraine.[4] From 1658 Sumy was a center of the Sumy Cossack Regiment (military unit and local administrative division).[4] In the 1680s around Sumy started to form unfortified suburbs.[4]

At the end of the 17th century, Sumy played a role of collection point of Muscovite troops during the Crimean campaigns of 1687 and 1689.[4] During the Great Northern War, from December 1708 to January 1709 the city was the stavka (headquarters) of Muscovite Chief of Commander headed by Tsar Peter the Great.[4] Established under the leadership of Prince A. Shakhovskoy, in 1734–43 in Sumy was located the Commission on streamlining the Sloboda Cossack regiments.[4] From its establishment and until the liquidation of Cossackdom in Sloboda Ukraine in 1765, the Cossack officer family of Kondratyevs had a great influence over the city.[4]

Following the liquidation of Cossack community in 1765, Sumy Cossack Regiment as an administrative division was turned into Sumy Province of the newly created Sloboda Ukraine Governorate and the city of Sumy became its center.[4] In 1780 Sumy was turned into a centre of Sumy uyezd.[4] In 1786-89 the city was reformed by removing its city fort vallums.[4]

After a period of stagnation (1765–1860s), Sumy began to transform into a big industrial and trade center with the Paul's Sugar-Refining Factory (est. 1869 by I.Kharytonenko) and the Sumy Engineering Workshops (est. 1896, producing equipment for sugar refineries).[4] With the construction of a railroad VorozhbaMerefa, in January 1877 in the city was built the Sumy train station.[4] A great contribution in development of Sumy made various families of philanthropist industrialists, the most famous of which are the Kharytonenkos.[4]

During the Revolution of 1905, Sumy was one of several areas which became famous throughout Russia for in effect having established an independent peasant republic; the Sumy Republic was established by a peasant union.[5]

During the German occupation of Ukraine during World War II (1941–1944), Sumy sustained heavy damage and was occupied from 10 October 1941 to 2 September 1943. The Germans operated a Nazi prison[6] and a forced labour battalion for Jews in the city.[7] After the war, the destroyed parts of the city were rebuilt.

On 24 February 2022, the first day of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Sumy came under attack by Russian forces in the Battle of Sumy.[8]

On 4 April 2022 Governor of Sumy Oblast Dmytro Zhyvytskyi stated that Russian troops no longer occupied any towns or villages in Sumy Oblast and had mostly withdrawn, while Ukrainian troops were working to push out the remaining units.[9] On 8 April, Governor Zhyvytskyi stated that all Russians troops left Sumy Oblast, while also adding that territory of the region was still unsafe due to rigged explosives and other ammunition left behind by Russian troops.[10]

Geography and climateEdit

Sumy is located in the northeastern part of Ukraine within the Central Russian Upland and in the historical region of Sloboda Ukraine. It is located on the banks of Psel River.

Due to its relatively close location, the city's weather is similar to Kharkiv. Sumy's climate is a warm-summer humid continental (Köppen: Dfb)[11] with cold and snowy winters, and hot summers. The seasonal average temperatures are not too cold in winter, not too hot in summer: −6.9 °C (19.6 °F) in January, and 20.3 °C (68.5 °F) in July. The average rainfall totals 513 mm (20 in) per year, with the most in June and July.

Trends show an increase in the fall in precipitation in the coming decades.[12]

Climate data for Sumy, Ukraine (1981–2010, extremes 1949-2011)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 11.0
Average high °C (°F) −2.7
Daily mean °C (°F) −5.3
Average low °C (°F) −7.9
Record low °C (°F) −34.2
Average precipitation mm (inches) 36.6
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 8.5 8.5 8.4 7.5 8.2 9.1 8.7 6.6 7.5 7.1 8.0 8.7 96.8
Average snowy days 18 14 10 3 0 0 0 0 0 2 10 17 74
Average relative humidity (%) 85.9 83.3 78.7 68.0 63.9 69.6 71.2 69.1 75.8 80.9 87.3 87.3 76.8
Source 1: World Meteorological Organization[13]
Source 2: (extremes),[14] Weatherbase (snow days)[15]


Sumy's regional administration building.

Sumy is a city of oblast significance which makes a separate subdivision within the Sumy Oblast. Sumy is also an administrative center of Sumy Raion which surrounds the city.

The city used to be divided into two urban raions (districts), Zarichny and Kovpakovsky, and 13 micro-raions. Since 2006, the subdivision into urban districts is not in effect.[16]

The city municipality also includes several adjacent villages including Verkhnie Pishchane, Zhyteiske, Zahirske, Kyryiakivshchyna, Pishchane, and Trokhymenkove.


Sumy's population.
Historical population
[citation needed]
  • 1897 - 70.53% Ukrainians, 24.1% Russians, 2.6% Jewish, 2.67% others
  • 1926 - 80.7% Ukrainians, 11.8% Russians, 5.5% Jewish, 2% others
  • 1959 - 79% Ukrainians, 20% Russians, 1% others[citation needed]

The majority of residents are Christians (Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics and Protestant or Evangelical Christians). There is also a Jewish minority.

From the beginning of the twentieth century, Sumy was the center of Roman Catholicism in northeastern Ukraine. The Blessed Virgin Mary Annunciation Church was established in the city in 1901 and consecrated in 1911, but closed by governmental authorities two decades later; the churchhouse was thereafter used for non-religious purposes (e.g., it was used as a gym for Oleksandrivska Gymnasia) until its restoration as a Roman Catholic parish in May 1994, after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. It was reconsecrated in the spring of 1998.


According to the census held in 1660 year the population of Sumy was 2740 people. In 1732 year it was 7700 people, in 1773 year — 9380 people, in 1850 year — 10,256 people, in 1898 year — 26,355 people.[17]

During Soviet times the population grew significantly. In 1939 it reached 63,9 thousand people.[18] In 1959 it was 98,015 people,[19] 159 thousand people in 1970, 194 thousand people in 1975,[20] 291,264 people in 1989,[21] and 303,3 thousand people in 1991.[22]

According to the Ukrainian Census of 2001, the population of Sumy was 292,139 people.[23] By January 1, 2013, it had decreased to 269,177 people.[24] On January 1, 2016, the population was 267,633 people.[25]

Economy and infrastructureEdit


Building of Sumy Engineering Science and Production Association


  • There is a Sumy Airport in the city. Built in 1978, since 2006 it has been an international airport and received flights from outside Ukraine.[citation needed]
  • There are several railway stations in the city, two of which serve passenger trains. All stations are part of the UZ regional branch Southern Railways. Sumy railway station also is headquarters of one of four territorial subdivisions of the Southern Railways and conducts supervision over some other 45 stations in Sumy, Poltava, and Kharkiv oblasts.
  • There are two major routes that cross the city H07 (Kyiv–Yunakivka at Russian border) and H12 (Sumy–Poltava). There are also few regional routes P44 (Sumy–Hlukhiv), P45 (Sumy–Bohodukhiv), and P61 (Sumy–Baturyn).

Main sightsEdit


Trinity Cathedral
  • The city centre is dominated by the large cathedral of the Saviour's Transfiguration. It is a neoclassical structure of the 18th century, extensively repaired and reconstructed in 1858 and in the 1880s, when the 56-metre-high bell tower (180 ft) was added. The interior features frescoes by Vladimir Makovsky and Klavdiy Lebedev.
  • The Resurrection Church (1702), the oldest structure in the town, is still in fair preservation, owing to recent restoration work.
  • The cathedral of the monastery of St. Pantaleon was erected in 1911 to a design by Aleksey Shchusev and is scored to resemble medieval monuments of Novgorod and Pskov.
  • A lovely church of Saints Peter and Paul is in the town's cemetery. It was built in 1851 on the donations of Sumy citizens. Beside the church there are tombs of the Kharytonenkos and Sukhanovs with artistic monuments by sculptors – A. Croisy and M. Antokolski.
  • The Cathedral of Holy Trinity was built in 1902–1914 on the same pattern as the Cathedral of St. Isaac in St. Petersburg. The author of the design was Sumy architect G. Sholts. It was built at the expense of Pavlo Kharitonenko, the local manufacturer and Maecenas who fulfilled his father's last will. Icon-painting is by famous artist M. Nesterov. The work on the decorative design was not completed because of the revolutionary events of 1917.


Local Museum

The Sumy Regional Art Museum was opened in 1920. It was started from nationalized private collections of the town and district. Paintings of Taras Shevchenko, Vladimir Borovikovsky, I. Shyskin, Arkhip Kuindzhi and Tetyana Yablonska are on display, including a Dutch landscape by a painter of Jan van Goyen's circle. Today the museum contains unique paintings and works of applied art. The building of the early 20th century originally belonged to the State Bank.

The Museum of Local Lore was opened in 1920. In the years of fascist occupation, the most important items of its collections were lost. Today it contains unique collections covering archeology and natural history of the Sumy region. It is located in the building of the 19th century which originally was the seat of the district government. In 1905 it was given to the printing house and publishing house of the first Sumy newspapers. In different years the building was visited by A. Kuprin and V. Korolenko, the famous Russian writers.

The Chekhov Museum, located in Chekhov street is an architectural complex representing Lintvarev's country estate of the 18th and 19th centuries. In 1888 and 1889 a great writer and dramatist Anton Chekhov was dreaming to settle in Luka forever but his dream did not come true. “Abbacia and the Adriatic Sea are wonderful, but Luka and Psiol are better” – he wrote in his letter from Italy to his friends in Sumy in 1894. This is also a place where Anton Chekhov's brother, Nikolai Chekhov, died in 1889.

The Museum of Banking history in the Sumy oblast and the History of Ukrainian Money was founded in 2006 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Ukrainian Academy of Banking on the basis of a unique collection of Ukrainian bonds – the paper money out of circulation, which were given to the academy by the National Bank of Ukraine. The exposition of the bonds is arranged in the thematic-chronological order - from the first appearance of money to the present day. In addition to the numerous historical documents, photographs, metal money (coins, souvenir bars), and commemorative medals of the National Bank of Ukraine, there is an exhibition presenting technical appliances used in the banking industry in the late 20th century.

Notable peopleEdit



Yuvileiny Stadium.

The field hockey club MSC Sumchanka has won the Ukrainian championship 12 times, and was European champion once.

Sumy is home to the Ukrainian Second League football team FC Sumy.

The Ukrainian Premier League football club FC Kharkiv were leasing the city's state-of-the-art Yuvileiny Stadium.

The Yuvileiny Stadium, formerly known as Spartak, was planned to be renovated just before dissolution of the Soviet Union and in 1989 was demolished to be built anew. It was not until 1998 when the actual construction was resumed and finally finished in 2001.

Twin towns – sister citiesEdit

Coat of arms at twin town Celle (Germany), granite artwork below signpost.

Sumy is twinned with:[26]

Other forms of cooperationEdit


  1. ^ Mayoral races in Ukraine: City-by-city runoff preview UkraineAlert by Brian Mefford, Atlantic Council (18 November 2020)
  2. ^ National parties lose out to local candidates in Ukraine’s 2020 municipal elections UkraineAlert by Brian Mefford, Atlantic Council (12 December 2020)
  3. ^ Чисельність наявного населення України на 1 січня 2021 [Number of Present Population of Ukraine, as of January 1, 2021] (PDF) (in Ukrainian and English). Kyiv: State Statistics Service of Ukraine.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Bazhan, O.H., Vortman, D.Ya., Masliychuk, V.L. Sumy, regional center (СУМИ, ОБЛАСНИЙ ЦЕНТР). Encyclopedia of History of Ukraine.
  5. ^ Figes, Orlando: A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891–1924. The Bodley Head, London (2014). p. 183
  6. ^ "Gefängnis Sumy". (in German). Retrieved 26 February 2022.
  7. ^ "Jüdisches Arbeitsbataillon Sumy". (in German). Retrieved 26 February 2022.
  8. ^ "Battles against Russian occupiers ongoing near Shchastia, Sumy, Hostomel Airport". Retrieved 2022-02-25.
  9. ^ Russian troops no longer hold any settlements in Ukraine's Sumy region, says governor, National Post (4 April 2022)
  10. ^ Sumy region liberated from Russian troops, Ukrayinska Pravda (8 April 2022)
  11. ^ "Sumy, Ukraine Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase. Retrieved 2020-10-02.
  13. ^ "World Meteorological Organization Climate Normals for 1981–2010". World Meteorological Organization. Archived from the original on 17 July 2021. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  14. ^ "Sumy, Ukraine Climate Data". Climatebase. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  15. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Sumy, Ukraine". Weatherbase. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  16. ^ Verkhovna Rada website
  17. ^ "ЭСБЕ/Сумы — Викитека". Retrieved 2019-09-03.
  18. ^ гл. ред. Б. А. Введенский (1956). Сумы // Большая Советская Энциклопедия. Государственное научное издательство «Большая Советская энциклопедия». pp. 2-е изд. том 41. М., стр.285–286.
  19. ^ "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1959 г."
  20. ^ Сумы // Большая Советская Энциклопедия. / под ред. А. М. Прохорова. 3-е изд. том 25. М., "Советская энциклопедия". 1976. pp. стр.76.
  21. ^ "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность городского населения союзных республик, их территориальных единиц, городских поселений и городских районов по полу".
  22. ^ "Sumy, city". The New Encyclopedia Britannica. 15th edition. Micropaedia. Vol.11. Chicago. 1994. p. 387.
  23. ^ "Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine".
  24. ^ "Чисельність наявного населення України на 1 січня 2013 року. Державна служба статистики України. Київ, 2013. стор.92" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-12. Retrieved 2019-09-03.
  25. ^ Чисельність наявного населення України на 1 січня 2016 року. Державна служба статистики України. Київ, 2016. стор.65
  26. ^ "Міста-партнери". (in Ukrainian). Sumy. Retrieved 2020-03-30.

External linksEdit