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History of Ukrainian Money - Hryvnia

Updated: Dec 28, 2022


Olga Pernarivska

For the first time, the Ukrainian hryvnia appeared in 1992 thanks to the painter and engraver Vasily Lopata. It was he who invented and drew 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 hryvnas. A bill, which was not created by him, is 500 and 1000 hryvnias.

But the history of the Ukrainian Hryvnia began long before 1992. Hryvnia silver existed as early as the 12th century and was used not only in Kiev Rus but in all Slavic countries. Hryvnia was at a greater degree by the weight, and not just a currency. In Kiev and Novgorod, Hryvnia silver was different. The sum of the coins with hryvnas weight was called Grivna kun. Even the Russian ruble originated from the hryvnia. In the ancient Novgorod region, the hryvnia was chopped into halves and halves were called the ruble.

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The modern Ukrainian hryvnia began to create even before the collapse of the USSR and therefore it was made in secret. The first option for naming a Ukrainian currency was the Ukrainian Dollar, like the Canadian Dollar, but the painter Vasil Lopata was opposed and offered to use the Old Rus currency. At present, there are 4 versions of the design of Ukrainian hryvnas – 1992, 1994-2001, 2003-2015 and 2014-2018. The symbol of grivna is a handwritten version of the Cyrillic letter g with two horizontal lines.

1 hryvnia

On the 1st hryvnia is depicted prince Vladimir the Great on one side and the ruins of the ancient city of Khersonos, which is located in Crimea with another. Prince Vladimir is most famous for the fact that he brought Christianity to Slavic lands and christen Rus. The image on the reverse side was replaced in 2003 by the City of Vladimir, this fortification built by Vladimir during his rule in Kiev. And in 2018, a banknote in 1 hryvnia became a coin. Until that time, coins with a nominal value of 1 hryvnia were already available, but they did not replace paper money.

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2 hryvnias

On 2 hryvnias depicted Yaroslav Mudry, the son of Prince Vladimir. Yaroslav Mudriy is considered the greatest prince of Kiev Rus, under his rule was written the first known collection of laws “Russian justice.” On the back side is the Sophia Cathedral, which was built by Yaroslav Mudrym. The cathedral is the centre of Sofia’s Kiyevskaya park and is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. As well as 1 hryvnia, 2 hryvnias from 2018 are replaced with coins.

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5 hryvnias

5 hryvnias were the first banknote, which was made by artist Vasil Lopata. They depict Hetman Bogdan Khmelnitsky. The great leader of the Zaporozhye Cossacks in the 17th century. He created the Cossack state Hetmanate. On the reverse side of the banknotes is a church in the village of Subbotov, where Bogdan Khmelnitsky was buried. From 2019, this banknote will also be replaced by a coin.

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10 hryvnias

This was the most controversial work of Vasil Lopata, he depicted on a banknote of 10 hryvnias of Hetman Ivan Mazepa. In 1992 he was considered as a traitor. Ivan Mazepa was a close aide to Peter the Great and made a great deal for the economic strengthening of Left-Bank Ukraine. But during the war between Russia and Sweden, he came out on the side of the king of Sweden against Peter the Great. Sweden promised to support Ukraine’s independence from the Russian empire. On the back side of the banknotes is the famous Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, as well as the Sofia Cathedral it is on the list of the UNESCO World Heritage. As well as 5 hryvnias of this banknote will be replaced by a coin from 2019.

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20 hryvnias

One of the greatest writers and poets of Ukraine, Ivan Franko, is depicted on 20 hryvnias. He helped Michael Hrushevsky in the creation of the Ukrainian People’s Republic. In 1915, he was nominated for the Nobel Prize, but his premature death prevented his candidates from being considered. On the reverse side of the banknotes, there is the Lviv Opera Theater, which until 2000 was carried the name of Ivan Franko, and then was renamed in honor of well-known operative singer Solomiya Krushelnytska.

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50 hryvnias

The first 50 hryvnias of 1992 were never published. They depict the historian and the first President of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, Michael Hrushevsky. Hrushevsky is best known as the author of the “History of Ukraine-Rus” – a work about the history of Rus. During his time the modern flag and the emblem of Ukraine were created. On the opposite side, there should be the Teachers House in Kiev, which was the building of the Government of the Ukrainian People’s Republic. But until 2003, there was the modern building of the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, and only in 2003, there were printed the Teacher’s House.

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100 hryvnias

The first 100 hryvnias, as well as 50 and were not published in 1992. They depict the greatest Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko. His poems became inspirations, both for writers and poets and for revolutionaries. He is considered one of the main inspirators of the independence of Ukraine. This banknote changed more than others over time. At first, the poet was of the middle age with a high willed forehead, then he was depicted by the elderly and in the national cap of those times, and on the last banknotes, he is the young one. But not only the front side of the banknotes changed, on the back side it was originally planned to place the buildings of the Ukrainian parliament – the Verkhovna Rada, but in 1994 the tower of the Sofia cathedral was placed there. In 2003, a blind musician with a small lead on the river Dnieper, and in 2014, the Kiev National University named after Taras Shevchenko.

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200 hrynvnias

200 hryvnias appeared only in 2001. They depict the only woman in the Ukrainian currency – this is the poet Lesya Ukrainka. She is the most famous Ukrainian poetess and writer. She also actively participated in the Ukrainian national liberation movement. According to the results of the polls, modern Ukrainians call her one of the most distinguished members of the grade, along with Taras Shevchenko and Bogdan Khmelnitsky. On the reverse side of the banknotes, there is a Lutsky tower of a 15th-century castle. This is one of the largest, oldest and most well-preserved castles of Ukraine.

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500 hryvnias

A banknote of 500 hryvnias was put into circulation in the late days, in 2006. On one side, it depicts Grigoriy Skovoroda, a Ukrainian philosopher, poet, fabler and pedagogue who made a significant contribution to East Slavic culture. Grigori Skovoroda is considered the birthmark of the Russian religious philosophy. On the back side is the image of the Kiev-Mohyla Academy, the oldest educational institution in Ukraine, which is still working. Exactly there studied Grigoriy Skovoroda.

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1000 hryvnias

A banknote of 1000 hryvnias was put into circulation on 25 of October in 2019.

On one side of 1000 hryvnias depicted Volodymyr Vernadsky, one of Ukraine’s most famous scientists,

He founded the scientific fields of geochemistry and radiogeology, was a seminal teacher of the concepts of the biosphere and the noosphere.

Volodymyr Vernadsky won multiple awards for his contributions to global science.

An image of the building of the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine is printed on the reverse side.

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Ukrainian coins

Changeable coins in denominations of 1, 2, and 5 kopiykas were withdrawn from circulation on October 1, 2019.

Coins of 10 and 50 kopiykas remained in circulation.

On April 27, 2018, coins with a nominal value of 1 and 2 hryvnias were put into circulation, on December 20, 2019 - coins with a nominal value of 5 hryvnias. These coins will be in circulation together with 1 hryvnia coins of the old model and 1, 2, and 5 hryvnia banknotes of previous years of production.

Ukrainian kopiyka
Ukrainian money

On April 27, 2018, coins with a nominal value of 1 and 2 hryvnias were put into circulation, on December 20, 2019 - coins with a nominal value of 5 hryvnias. These coins will be in circulation together with 1 hryvnia coins of the old model and 1, 2, 5 and 10 hryvnia banknotes from previous years of production.

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