The land of Sumy (Sumshchyna) is situated in the south-east of Ukraine. It is mostly plain, overgrown atmany places with forsests. 132 rivers, tributaries of the Dnipro, roll their waters through the step. As an administrative unit Sumy Oblast was created in 1939 (present population about 1.5 million people; territory -23.8 thousand square kilometers). Today the town of Sumy is the biggest industrial and cultural centre of the Sumy Oblast. The town was founded in 1652 by the Cossacks who had migrated here from the areas on the right bank of the Dnipro river. In the very early years of its existence Sumy turned out to be a bulwark against the Tatar inroads. The town bravely withstood all the attempts to storm and destroy it. But Sumy survived even the worst of times and grew in size. Voskresenskaya (Resurrection) Church is the earliest surviving architectural monument in Sumy. It was built in 1702 and it served a double purpose of a place of worship and of a defensive structure in the north-western part of the fortress into which Sumy had gradually turned. By the end of the 18th century the town became an important centre of trade and handicrafts. The economic prosperity changed the town significantly; the central part of Sumy was cleared of old dilapidated buildings of the earlier times and new houses were built. Some of these houses have been preserved and they are excellent examples of the architectural style of classicism. There are three towns in Sumy Oblast which are much older than Sumy itself Putivl, Hlukhiv and Romny are at least a thousand years old.