Currency in Armenia

June 28, 2014 - Travel to Armenia

You are a traveler who comes to Armenia and wants to learn some useful information. OK! Let’s try to start with something that is quite important for you to know: the currency in Armenia!

Armenia has a special currency which is called “dram”, not the musical instrument that is written with “u”, but “dram”, which relates to the old Greek word drachma and the Arabic dirham and means “money”.  Yes, in everyday speech Armenians also use this word as money.

For example “Mi dram el chunem!” means “I don’t have even a penny!”

Dram in the period of Kurike King

Image: Old dram, King Gurgen Second (Kurike II)

Generally the word “dram” has been used already in the period from 1199 to 1375, and referred to the silver coins which were in use in the country. Nowadays, “dram” came to the usage after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the declaration of Independence of Armenia in 1991. The actual date of declaring the circulation of Armenian Dram was 1993, after which the international ISO code abbreviation for the dram became “AMD”. Armenian Dram is used not only in the territory of the Republic of Armenia, but in Nagorno-Karabakh Republic as well. In Nagorno, it is called Nagorno Karabakh dram and is quite equal to the one of Armenia, but was introduced as the national currency only in 2005.

Dram corresponds to 100 luma, which is not used anymore, because of its low value.

Armenian dram had two series of introduction of coins: 1994 and 2003-2004. The first introduction included 10, 20, 50 lumas and 1, 3, 5 and 10 drams. Out of all these coins in circulation remains only the 10 dram, because the others have lost their value.

Armenian set of coins 1994

The second introduction included 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 drams, which still remain as the most used ones.

10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 drams

The introduction of banknotes corresponds to the years 1993-1995 and 1998-to the present. As in quite all countries the Armenian banknotes are also covered with the profiles of famous Armenian writers, politicians etc.

Armenian banknotes

Image: famous Armenian writers and painters represented on Armenian dram banknotes.

The 50.000 banknote was issued in 2001 as commemorative to the 1700th anniversary of the adoption of Christianity in Armenia. It represents St. Gregory the Illuminator and king Tiridates the Great who lift up the Armenian Church. On the right side of the banknote there is a khachkar from Kecharis Monastery.

Kecharis monastery scene



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