Ukrainian currency

Hryvnia (pronunciation [ˈɦrɪu̯ɲɑ]) is a monetary unit and official currency of Ukraine. It was proclaimed the national currency in September 1996 by President L. Kuchma. Hryvnia hundredth part is kopiyka.

Ukrainian grivna code is UAH, currency symbol is ₴, abbreviation in Ukrainian – grn.


Name of Ukrainian currency dates back to Kievan Rus’ times (IX century). The word “hryvnia” was used to denote first copper and then silver ingots of a certain weight.

The word probably derived from Slavic word “griva” with the meaning “mane” and was used to indicate valuable (silver or gold) neck jewelry. According to etymologists, the meaning of the word “hryvnia – neck jewelry” was complemented with meaning “monetary unit” due to the widespread tradition of making neck jewelry out of coins.

Hryvnia has been main Kievan Rus’ currency until XIV century.

During the Tartar Yoke silver hryvni were divided in half, each half was called “rouble”. Roubles replaced hryvni.

In 1917 Ukrainian National Republic declared independence from Russian Empire. As a currency of Republic revised version of Kievan Rus’ hryvnia was chosen. It was used in circulation from October 1918 until currency reform in 1922-1924 when it was taken out of circulation.

Hryvnia became a monetary unit of independent Ukraine five years after USSR dissolution in 1996.


ukrainian uah currency symbol
Hryvnia symbol

Since March 2004 the official sign for Ukrainian money is ₴. It consists of 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).


The first series of hryvnia banknotes was introduced into circulation in 1996. They were in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 hryven’. Currently Ukrainian grivna is issued in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 denominations. The current series were introduced into circulation in 2004-2006. New bills (paper hryvni) look like this:

1 hryvnia

1 hryvnia banknote
1 hryvnia

Main color: grey (2004)/yellow-blue (2006)

Obverse: Vladimir I of Kiev, Ruler of  Kievan Rus’.

Reverse: Vladimir’s Fortress Wall (Kyiv)

2 hryvni

2 hryvni banknote
2 hryvni

Main color: Brown

Obverse: Yaroslav the Wise, Ruler of Kievan Rus’

Reverse: Saint Sofia’s Cathedral (Kyiv)

5 hryven’

5 hryven' banknote
5 hryven’

Main color: Blue

Obverse: Bohdan Khmelnitsky, Ukrainian Hetman

Reverse: Subotiv Church

10 hryven’

10 hryven' banknote
10 hryven’

Main color: Red

Obverse: Ivan Mazepa, Ukrainian Hetman

Reverse: The Kiev Pechersk Lavra Panorama

20 hryven’

20 hryven' banknote
20 hryven’

Main color: Green

Obverse: Ivan Franko, Ukrainian writer and poet

Reverse: The Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet

50 hryven’

50 hryven' banknote
50 hryven’

Main color: Violet

Obverse: Mikhailo Hrushevski, Ukrainian politician and historian

Reverse: The Tsentralna Rada Building (Kyiv)

100 hryven’

100 hryven' banknote
100 hryven’

Main color: yellow

Obverse: Taras Shevchenko

Reverse: Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

200 hryven’

200 hryven' banknote
200 hryven’

Main color: pink

Obverse: Lesya Ukrainka, Ukrainian writer and poet

Reverse: Tower of Lutsk Castle

500 hryven’

500 hryven' banknote
500 hryven’

Main color: peach (2006)/beige (2015)

Obverse: Hryhorii Skovoroda, Ukrainian composer and writer

Reverse: Kyiv Mohyla Academy


Ukrainian coins (kopiyky)

Coins of Ukrainian hryvnia were minted in 1992 for the first time, but were introduced into circulation only in 1996. Currently Ukrainian hryvnia coins (kopiyky (“kopiyka” – singular) are issued in 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 1 hryvnia denominations.

Obverse of kopiyka: the Ukrainian tryzub (Coat of Arms), name of country (Ukraine), minted year and floral ornament.

Reverse of kopiyka: denomination and floral ornament.

The coins of 1 and 5 kopiyok are made of stainless steel, 2 kopiyky – aluminium (1992-1996) and stainless steel (2001), 10, 25, 50 kopiyok and 1 hryvnya – brass (1992-1996) and aluminium bronze (2001).

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