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Sumy Ukraine Information

Sumy (Ukrainian: Суми [ˈsumɪ], Russian: Сумы) is a city on the Psel River in Ukraine, and the capital of the Sumy Oblast. As of 2004, the city's population is 283,700. It is served by Sumy Airport.


The settlement of the region began approximately 15,000 years ago. During the Bronze Age the area was inhabited by the ancient Slavic farming and cattle-breeding tribes. With the discovery of iron ore in the Dnipro river region (8th cent. B.C.), almost all the lands were settled by Scythian farmers. In the 7th-10th cent. The area was inhabited by the Slavic Siveriany tribes.

From the 9th cent. The Sumy lands were part of Kyivan Rus'-Ukraine, namely the Pereyaslav and the Chernihiv principalities, and in the mid-12th cent., part of Novhorod-Siversky principality. During this time many cities were built. Fierce battles among the various princes were fought, especially during the 1140s. The Polovtsian tribes took advantage of these destructive wars and launched attacks on the principalities. Their unsuccessful crusade against the Novhorod-Siversky Prince Ihor and other princes is the subject of the oldest Ukrainian literary epic "The Lay of Ihor's Campaign." In 1239 the Tatars destroyed many ancient cities in the land. The Tatar Khans treated the population cruelly and much of the population perished at their hands.

In the 1350s-60s the Lithuanian principality captured a major part of the present-day Sumy region. According to the peace treaty of 1503, which ended the war with Lithuania, almost all the Chernihiv and Siversk territories became part of the Muscovite state. The city of Putyvl became an important border point. In the early 17th cent. Polish incursions in the area intensified, accompanied by harsh colonial policies and violence which was directed at the population of the occupied Ukrainian lands.

Sumy was founded in 1652 at the bank of the Psel River (a left tributary of the Dnieper) as a Cossack fortress. It was intended to protect Sloboda Ukraine from the Crimean Tatar attacks. After their attacks discontinued and the territory was incorporated into the Russian Empire, Sumy evolved into an important economical centre. During the German occupation of Ukraine during World War II (1941 - 1943), Sumy sustained heavy damage. The war over, destroyed parts of the city were rebuilt anew. Sumy is a twin town of Celle, Germany since January 17, 1990.

The name of the town Sumy (sounds like old-Russian word "bags") comes from the name of the river Sumka, which flows in the central part of the city. However there is a legend, according to which the first settlers found bags with money not far from that place and it was suggested them as the name of the future city. In 1781 Russian queen Katherine the Great approved the emblem of the city, where three bags on the escutcheon were represented. It is possible to see this emblem on the cast-iron poles, ornamental fences and on hatches in the old part of the city

Weather and climate

Sumy is located in the northeastern part of Ukraine. So its weather is similar to that in Kharkov. Sumy's climate is moderate continental: 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 (20 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.


The city centre was once 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 meter (180 ft) high bell tower 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 Sts. 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 the famous sculptors A. Croisy and M. Antokolsky.

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.

The Sumy Fine Arts Museum was opened in 1920. It was started from nationalized private collections of the town and district. Paintings of T. Shevchenko, V. Borovykovskyi, I. Shyskin, A. Kuindzhi and T. Yablonska are on show. Today the museum is one of the most outstanding art centers which 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 a unique architectural complex representing Lintvarev's country estate of the 18th 19th centuries. In 1888 1889 a great writer and dramatist Anton Chekhov was dreaming to settle in Luka forever but his dream didn't 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.

Nikanor Onatsky Regional Art Museum in Sumy is a state museum in Sumy, Ukraine. Its collection is one of the best in Ukraine and contains works of native and from all over the world artists. The museum was founded on March 1, 1920, by Nikanor Onatsky (18751937), an artist, teacher and public figure, an apprentice of Ilya Repin. The museum was formed on the basis of local private collections that had been nationalized and O. Gansen's collection that was located in the city at that time. The exposition and the funds of the museum number over 15,000 museum pieces.

The exposition occupies eight rooms of the two-storey mansion that was built in the late 19th early 20th century by G. Sholts, an architect from Sumy, and originally housed the State Bank of the Russian Empire. On display there are paintings, drawings, sculptures, decorative works by the old masters as well as by modern artists, from both Ukraine and abroad.


Fosco (Oktyabrskaya str.) - a new restaurant in old-Italian style, with the variety of delicious dishes from Italian cuisine, with a great wine card and friendly stuff, but expensive one.

Kosmos (Oktyabrskaya str.) - restaurant, cinema and billiard. Renovated building of old cinema theater, cozy place, good kitchen, reasonable prices.

San-Remo (Red square) - disco, restaurant; dancing program starts at 21.00.

Eldorado - night club starts 23.00, dancing, restaurant, casino, billiard.

Old Mill (Stary Mlyn) - restaurant, which is situated at the picturesque bank of the Psyol River. Russian sauna, traditional Ukrainian kitchen. Located in 15 minutes walking from the center. It is better to take a taxi in order to get there.

Zdibanka (Zalivnaya STR) - very nice and newly-built restaurant, which offers you various dishes from Italian and other cuisines, large variety of drinks. Best pizza in the city. Restaurant is situated at the picturesque bank of the Psyol River. There is also a summer terrace with great view on the river.

Shchepkin Theater of drama and music comedy (Kirova str.) - local plays are on Ukrainian and Russian languages. Concerts of famous Russian and Ukrainian singers happen 1-2 times a month

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