Ukrainian Money — Hryvnia

In this lesson, we will learn more interesting facts about the Ukrainian currency, its history, look at banknotes and learn to talk about prices.

Ukrainan currency is called “hryvnia” (гри́вня).

The hryvnia’s code is UAH. Ukraine’s currency symbol is ₴. The hryvnia sign is a cursive Cyrillic letter “г” (“г“) with a double horizontal stroke, symbolizing stability. In Ukraine, the abbreviation грн is also used instead of hryvnia sign.

History of Ukrainian money


The name of the currency of Ukraine comes from the word “hryvnia”, which in Kyivan Rus meant a decoration worn at the nape of the neck.

As early as the 8th and 9th centuries, the hryvnia was used as a unit of weight and counting when trading and paying tributes.

The first Ukrainian money, zlatnyks (gold coins) and sriblianyks (silver coins) were produced under Kyiv Prince Volodymyr the Great (10th century). These coins are the oldest extant documents that have an image of the trident, a symbol used by Kyiv princes. While the earliest coins produced by Western European countries copied Roman coins, including the portraits and legends placed on these coins, zlatnyks and sriblianyks only featured legends in the Old East Slavic language and bore images of Old Rus princes.

In the 12th to 14th centuries, Kyiv Rus weakened by feudal disunity, minted no coins. Silver ingots called hryvnias were mostly used as money in that period.

In the 14th and 17th centuries, there were attempts to revive coinage on Ukrainian lands.

During the Ukrainian Revolution of 1917 to 1921 a law that introduced a new unit of money, the hryvnia was passed (1918).

After Ukraine gained its independence on 24 August 1991, coupon karbovanets circulated along with Soviet rubles for some time. In 1992, Ukrainian karbovanets were declared the sole legal tender in Ukraine, both for cash and cashless transactions. In 1996, a currency reform was carried out in Ukraine that introduced the hryvnia as Ukraine’s national currency.

Ukrainian banknotes


There are banknotes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 hryvnias. Ukrainian banknotes depict people and architectural sites of historical importance. 

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