The regional center of Sumy is situated in place, where migrants from the locality of Stavysche in Kyiv region, headed by Cossack Gerasim Kondratiev, founded a fortified settlement. The origin of the city’s name is unknown. According to a popular hut improbable version the locals found on the riverside three hunting “sumy” (game-bags) with gold. They are depicted on the city’s coat of arms. Some people connect the name with the verb “miss”: they say they were homesick. However, it is more likely that the name originates simply from the Suma River. For a long time the city and fortress remained an important boundary outpost, and in 1658 it became the center of the Cossack regiment, which protected the borders against attacks of the Crimean Tatars.
Many houses of the old city were built after the projects of the well-known architects 0. Palitsyn and P.Yaroslavsky. Due to their efforts and support of the local patrons of art, sugar manufacturers Ivan and Pavlo Kharytone’nko, the city acquired the Trinity Church, a non-classical school, the Main office, the child’s hospital named after St. Zinaida.Thus the Kharytonenkos fully justified the inscription on their family coat of arms-“Glorify Yourself with Labor.” ln 1899 a monument to I. Kharyto-nenko (1822-1891), (sculptors A.Opekushin and A.Kruazi), the founder of the dynasty, was erected on the local citizens’ donations. After 1917 the monument was destroyed by the Bolsheviks, and in its place appeared monument to Lenin. In 1996, restoring historical justice, a copy of the first monument was put up on the old pedestal, in the public garden named after I.Kharyto-nenko (sculpt. A.lvchenko).
The Resurrection Cathedral (19 Nezalezhnosti Sq.), the oldest stone structure of the city, a masterpiece of Ukrainian baroque, was built in 1702 on money of Cossack Andriy Kondratiev. (In the lower part of the cathedral there is the”heated”Church of Saint Andrew; in the upper one, the “cool” Church of the Resurrection). Many legends are connected with the history of the cathedral. One of them narrates that the founder of the city, Gerasim Kondratiev, had sister Maria who was distinguished for her cocky character. At that time a gang of robbers appeared in the vicinity of Sumy. The robbers were caught, but Maria proved to be the leader. The family council made an “original” decision – to immure the “leader” into the wall of the church. During investigation of the basements there were discovered an underground passage and the remains of a female body. In spite of the fact that the .story of Maria’s adventures looks scarcely probable, the truth of the mysterious burial does exist, for in 1759 the retired Colonel Stepan Kondratiev complained that the local priest disturbed the family burial vault and buried there a merchant, without his permission. For a long time the department of decorative and applied arts of the Art Museum was operating within the church. In December 2002 the public of the city marked the 300th anniversary of the temple. The baroque bell tower was built in 1906.
Transfiguration Cathedral (1776-1788,31 Soborna St.) was reconstructed in 1882-1892 under the supervision of architect M.Lovtsov on money of Sumy Maecenas Dmytro Sukhanov (1825-1890). Unfortunately, the Maecenas who was also head of the city did not live to see the reconstruction completed. He died in December 1890.The work was completed by his nephew Mykola Sukhanov. The temple was consecrated in November 1892. Noteworthy are the iconostasis within the interior, made of marble and malachite, and the bronze figures of Saints outside the church. In the past the temple was decorated with paintings on biblical themes made by artists V.Makovsky and K.Lebedev. In the second half of the 19th century a belfry crowned with a golden cupola was added to the cathedral. It had a chiming clock. During the war the clock was damaged and did not work till 1947. Today it does work and is wound up once in three days.
The former estate of D. Sukhanov (58 Petropavlivska St.) consists of the proprietor’s house, an office and a household building constructed after the project of V.Prusakov.The building had been planned in compliance with the latest in technology, and even had electric lighting. In 1910 the estate passed on to Vanda Sumovska, the wife of the road-transport engineer lokim Sumovsky. On becoming a widow, Vanda rented out the house to the Industrial assembly, and turned the household building into a garage where one could hire a car for a trip within the borders of Sumy district. During the civil war a large collection of valuable porcelain and glassware was hidden in the house, which later was transferred to the State Art and Historical Museum of Sumy. Now it is a scientific establishment.
The building of the Church of SS. Peter and Paul began in 1839 at the local cemetery (20-littia Peremohv St.). The merchant Fedir Sapozhkov donated for the project 500 thousand rubles. Beside the temple there are wonderful monuments on the graves of the Kharytonenkos family. The marble sculptures “Angel” and “Calvary” were executed by Aristid Kruazi. P.Kharytonenko brought them from Europe. The works by this sculptor adorn Parisian city hall, the gardens of Palais-Royal and Louvre in Paris. Here are the graves of the daughter of Pavlo Ivanovych, Zinaida, his father Ivan Herasimovich, and Pavlo Kharytonenko himself. Not far away from the altar there is the grave of the well-known Sumy entrepreneur and patron of art, the merchant Mykola Sukhanov. It is assumed that the author of the tombstone was the famous sculptor P.Antokolsky.
The city estate of the sugar manufacturers Kharytonenkos (4Dz-erzhinsky St.) was built at the close of the 19th century. Its architectural ensemble was resolved in pseudo-classical forms and was made up of an office building and a dwelling house. The latest alterations were made in 1912-1913. In 1919, during the civil war, the estate was occupied by a financial department, later by a children’s sanatorium and a hospital. From 1947 high-ranking officials of SugarTrust occupied the estate.
The Trinity Cathedral (1901-1914, 34Troitska St.) was the third temple in the history of the city consecrated in honor of the Holy Trinity. The first wooden church was mentioned in 1730. In 1827, on money of the family of Mykhailo and Pavlo Lytvar, there was built a stone church near present-day cathedral. However, the question of building a new temple was raised in the early 20th century. Pavlo Kharytonenko took all material expenses upon himself, which made up half a million rubles. The Sumy architect G.Scholz was commissioned to carry out the work. In the opinion of researchers he chose the Isaac and the Trinity cathedrals in Petersburg as an architectural example. The icons of Christ, the Virgin, the Trinity, St. Nicholas, and archangels Gabriel and Michael were executed by N. Nesterov. Other images for the temple were made by I. Livitsky and K. Petrov-Vodkin. The consecration of the temple was set for September 26,1914, but the unexpected death of P. Kharytonenko and the outbreak of World War I made it impossible. The temple was not completed. The majestic iconostasis was destroyed during the war. It was only in 1976 that reconstruction began, which lasted more than a decade. For a long time the temple was used as a hall for organ music.
The Church of St. Panteleimon (Romenska St.) is situated in the outskirts of the city, at the exit in the direction of Poltava. In the early 20th century the well-known architect A.Schusev was commissioned to build the monastery of St. Panteleimon the martyr. The construction work was financed by merchant I.Kulishov. The church was built in A.Schusev’s favorite style, the Pskov-Novgorod architecture of the 12 th-13th centuries. In 1911 the temple was consecrated. In 1913-1914 the whole monastery complex was completed. It included the church, the two-storied metropolitan building, and a gatehouse. In the early 1930 the monastery was closed. For a long time the church was used as a warehouse, and then as a planetarium. In 1991 divine services were resumed.
Of certain interest can be A.Chekhov memorial museum situated in the former Lytvars’ estate. Anton Pavlovich Chekhov lived in the western wing of the estate in 1888-1889.