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.
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:
Main color: grey (2004)/yellow-blue (2006)
Obverse: Vladimir I of Kiev, Ruler of Kievan Rus’.
Reverse: Vladimir’s Fortress Wall (Kyiv)
Main color: Brown
Obverse: Yaroslav the Wise, Ruler of Kievan Rus’
Reverse: Saint Sofia’s Cathedral (Kyiv)
Main color: Blue
Obverse: Bohdan Khmelnitsky, Ukrainian Hetman
Reverse: Subotiv Church
Main color: Red
Obverse: Ivan Mazepa, Ukrainian Hetman
Reverse: The Kiev Pechersk Lavra Panorama
Main color: Green
Obverse: Ivan Franko, Ukrainian writer and poet
Reverse: The Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet
Main color: Violet
Obverse: Mikhailo Hrushevski, Ukrainian politician and historian
Reverse: The Tsentralna Rada Building (Kyiv)
Main color: yellow
Obverse: Taras Shevchenko
Reverse: Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
Main color: pink
Obverse: Lesya Ukrainka, Ukrainian writer and poet
Reverse: Tower of Lutsk Castle
Main color: peach (2006)/beige (2015)
Obverse: Hryhorii Skovoroda, Ukrainian composer and writer
Reverse: Kyiv Mohyla Academy
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).