Get acquainted with personalities and places depicted on the Ukrainian banknotes, find out the etymology of the Ukrainian currency name and other interesting facts!  At the end take a virtual tour of The Museum of Money of the National Bank of Ukraine and take the quiz!

Fact #1. Ukrainian currency is called hryvnia…

…or гривня in Ukrainian. The hryvnia code is UAH. It was proclaimed the national currency five years after USSR dissolution in 1996.

Fact #2. The official sign for Ukrainian money is ₴.

It consists of the cursive Cyrillic letter “г” and double horizontal stroke. Letter “г” stands for the first letter in Ukrainian word “гривня” (hryvnia). Double horizontal stroke symbolizes stability (the same sign is used in European € and Japanese ¥  currency symbols). In Ukraine, the abbreviation грн is used more often than the hryvnia sign.

Fact #3. The Ukrainian currency got its name in honor of the old currency. 

The word “hryvnia” was used to denote first copper and then silver ingots of a certain weight in Kyivan Rus’ times. They looked like this:

The word probably derived from Slavic word “hryva” with the meaning “mane” and consequently “hryvna” with the meaning “neck jewelry”. According to etymologists, the meaning of the word “hryvna – neck jewelry” was complemented with meaning “monetary unit” due to the widespread tradition of making neck jewelry out of coins.

Fact #4. Main motifs on the front side of the banknotes…

…represent important personalities who lived in the territory of the present Ukraine in various historical eras. On the back side of the banknotes, these motifs are completed by depicting places related to the names of these personalities. Currently Ukrainian hryvnia is issued in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 denominations.

Ukrainian currency

Obverse: Volodymyr the Great (c. 958 – 1015), Grand Prince of Kyiv, Ruler of Kyivan Rus’ in 980–1015

Reverse: The Volodymyr I’s Fortress Wall in Kyiv

Ukrainian currency

Obverse: Yaroslav the Wise (c. 978 – 1054), Grand Prince of Kyiv

Reverse: The Saint Sophia’s Cathedral in Kyiv

Ukrainian currency

Obverse: Bohdan Khmelnytskyi (c. 1595 – 1657), Hetman of Ukraine

Reverse: A church in the village of Subotiv

Ukrainian currency

Obverse: Ivan Mazepa (1639–1709), Hetman of Ukraine

Reverse: The Holy Dormition Cathedral of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra

Ukrainian currency

Obverse: Ivan Franko (1856–1916), poet and writer

Reverse: The Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet

Ukrainian currency

Obverse: Mykhailo Hrushevskyi (1866–1934), historian and politician

Reverse: The Tsentralna Rada building

Ukrainian currency

Obverse: Taras Shevchenko (1814–1861), poet and artist

Reverse: Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

Ukrainian currency

Obverse: Lesia Ukrainka (1871–1913), poet and writer

Reverse: The Entrance Tower of Lutsk Castle

Ukrainian currency

Obverse: Hryhorii Skovoroda(1722–1794), writer and philosopher

Reverse: The Kyiv Mohyla Academy buildings

Fact #5. Hryvnia hundredth part is копійка. 

Currently Ukrainian копійки are issued in 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 1 hryvnia denominations. Obverse: the Ukrainian tryzub (Coat of Arms), the name of the country (Ukraine), minted year and floral ornament. Reverse: denomination and floral ornament.

Ukrainian currency

Fact #6. There are few different grammar forms of the word гривня…

…depending on the number used before it.

1 + гривня 2, 3, 4  + гривні 5 to 9 and 0 (and 11-14) + гривень
For numbers ending with 1 the nominative singular form гривня is used  (except 11)

одна гривня (1 грн)

двадцять одна гривня (21 грн)

сто одна гривня (101 грн)

For numbers ending with 2, 3, or 4 the nominative plural form гривні is used (except 12, 13, 14).

дві, три, чотири гривні (2, 3, 4 грн)

двадцять дві гривні (22 грн)

сто три (103 грн)

For numbers ending with 5 to 9 and 0 the genitive plural form гривень is used.

пять гривень (5 грн)

десять гривень (10 грн)

дев’яносто дев’ять гривень (99 грн) 

 

The singular for the subdivision is копійка, the nominative plural is копійки and the genitive is копійок.

Fact #7. Banknotes issued in Ukraine can be viewed at the Museum of Money of the National Bank of Ukraine…

…in Kyiv (9, Instytutska Str., Kyiv, entrance No 5). The museum’s collection can be viewed online by taking a virtual tour, available on the NBU’s official website. The 3D virtual tour offers viewers an opportunity to explore all the showcases.

Quiz time!

Recognize the personalities on the pics.             

Recognize the personalities on Ukrainian money!

The National currency is one of the symbols of the country’s independence, it can say a lot about the history and culture of the nation. I hope today’s article helped you to learn more about Ukraine.

Tell us some interesting facts about the national currency of your country!


Are you beginning to learn Ukrainian?

Check our series of Ukrainian Lessons Podcast and start with our list of 14 most common expressions right now.

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Iryna Podoliak

In 2013, Iryna graduated from Ivan Franko National University of Lviv and got a Master's degree in Philology. She specializes in the methodology of teaching Ukrainian as a foreign language. Iryna worked with students from the United States, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Estonia, Poland. She appreciates the opportunity of cultural and worldview interchange during the lessons. Iryna is interested in early learning methods as she has a little son.

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