Sumy is a city and administrative center of Sumy region, northeastern Ukraine, on the Psyol River. Sumy is a highway and railway junction of the region. There is an airport in the city.
In 2nd-6th centuries A.D. Slavic tribes lived in the area of present Sumy, remnants of their settlements and burial mounds are found in the south-western part of the city, on Pavlov street. In 8th-10th centuries there was a settlement of northern people in the area of Topol settlement (now Topolyanskaya street in Sumy city).
There is no common opinion on the foundation date of Sumy. 1653 and 1655 are considered possible dates. 1655 is considered the most exact. It is thought that the town was inhabited by several waves of migrants arriving from the opposite bank of the Danube, but the town was founded by colonel Gerasim Kondratyev who arrived to the Russian state together with a group of Cossack migrants in 1655. Moscow allowed them to settle there and during 1656-1658 they constructed a fortress there headed by Russian voivode K.Yu.Arsenyev.
Sumy was constructed in an oak forest, walls of the fortress were built of oak, under the fortress there was an underground way to water, a rampart and a deep moat were formed around the fortress. The fortifications were supplemented by natural ones: the rivers Psyol, Suma and Sumka surrounded the town.
Ukrainian peasants who were ruled by Rzeczpospolita at that time began migrating to southern steppes in mid 16th century. Ukrainians migration process lasted till mid 18th century. The political situation in the second half of 17th century caused the town foundation.
In 1651 Ukrainian Cossacks headed by Bogdan Khmelnitsky were defeated near Berestechka and it was the start of the Polish yoke over Ukrainian population. In 1658 Sumy became the center of Slobodsky Cossack regiment which defended southern boundaries of Russia from the Crimean Tatars’ attacks. There were 2,740 people (1660 est.) in the town.
It was attacked by Crimean Tatars in 1659, 1663, 1668. In spite if a siege the Tatars failed to occupy the town. Sumy fortress served as a ground where Russian army gathered during expeditions to the Crimea in 1687 and 1689.