Get acquainted with personalities and places depicted on Ukrainian banknotes, find out the etymology of the Ukrainian currency’s name, and many other interesting facts! 

Fact #1. Ukrainian currency is called hryvnia…

…or гривня in Ukrainian. The hryvnia’s code is UAH. It was proclaimed the national currency five years after the dissolution of the USSR in 1996.

Fact #2. The official sign for Ukrainian money is ₴.

It consists of the cursive Cyrillic letter “г” and a double horizontal stroke. The letter “г” stands for the first letter in the Ukrainian word “гривня” (hryvnia). The double horizontal stroke symbolizes stability. The same sign is used in the European € and the Japanese ¥  currency symbols. In Ukraine, the abbreviation грн is used more often than the hryvnia sign.

Fact #3. The Ukrainian currency got its name in honor of the old currency. 

The word “hryvnia” was used to denote the first copper and then silver ingots of a certain weight in Kyivan Rus’ times. They looked like this:

The word probably derived from the Slavic word “hryva“, meaning “mane“, and consequently “hryvna” with meaning “neck jewelry.” According to etymologists, the meaning of the word “hryvna – neck jewelry” was complemented with the meaning “monetary unit” due to the widespread tradition of making neck jewelry out of coins.

Fact #4. Main motifs on the front side of the banknotes…

…represent important personalities who lived on the territory of present Ukraine in various historical eras. On the back side of the banknotes, these motifs are completed by depicting places related to the names of these personalities. Currently, Ukrainian hryvnia is issued in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1000 denominations.

Ukrainian currency

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

Ukrainian currency

Obverse: Yaroslav the Wise (c. 978 – 1054), Grand Prince of Kyiv

Reverse: Saint Sophia’s Cathedral in Kyiv

Ukrainian currency

Obverse: Bohdan Khmelnytskyi (c. 1595 – 1657), Hetman of Ukraine

Reverse: A church in the village of Subotiv

Ukrainian currency

Obverse: Ivan Mazepa (1639–1709), Hetman of Ukraine

Reverse: The Holy Dormition Cathedral of Kyiv Pechersk Lavra

Obverse: Ivan Franko (1856–1916), poet and writer

Reverse: The Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet

Obverse: Mykhailo Hrushevskyi (1866–1934), historian and politician

Reverse: The Tsentralna Rada building

Ukrainian currency

Obverse: Taras Shevchenko (1814–1861), poet and artist

Reverse: Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

Obverse: Lesia Ukrainka (1871–1913), poetess and writer

Reverse: The Entrance Tower of Lutsk Castle

Obverse: Hryhorii Skovoroda (1722–1794), writer and philosopher

Reverse: The Kyiv Mohyla Academy buildings

Obverse: Volodymyr Vernadskyi (1722–1794), scientist, academician, founder of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences

Reverse: Presidency of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences

Fact #5. Hryvnia coins are копійки. 

Ukrainian копійки used to be issued in 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50б and 1 hryvnia denominations (first picture), but now they are issued in the denominations of 10 and 50 копійок, and 1, 2, 5 and 10 hryvnias. Obverse: the Ukrainian tryzub (Coat of Arms), the name of the country (Ukraine), year minted, and floral ornament. Reverse: denomination and floral ornament.

Ukrainian currency

Fact #6. There are a few different grammar forms of the word гривня…

…depending on the number used before it.

1 + гривня 2, 3, 4  + гривні 5 to 9 and 0 (and 11-14) + гривень
For numbers ending with 1, the nominative singular form гривня is used  (except 11)

одна гривня (1 грн)

двадцять одна гривня (21 грн)

сто одна гривня (101 грн)

For numbers ending with 2, 3, or 4 the nominative plural form гривні is used (except 12, 13, 14).

дві, три, чотири гривні (2, 3, 4 грн)

двадцять дві гривні (22 грн)

сто три (103 грн)

For numbers ending with 5 to 9 and 0 the genitive plural form гривень is used.

пять гривень (5 грн)

десять гривень (10 грн)

дев’яносто дев’ять гривень (99 грн) 

The singular for the subdivision is копійка, the nominative plural is копійки and the genitive is копійок.

Fact #7. Banknotes issued in Ukraine can be viewed at the Museum of Money of the National Bank of Ukraine…

…in Kyiv (9, Instytutska Str., Kyiv, entrance No 5).


The National currency is one of the symbols of the country’s independence; it can say a lot about the history and culture of the nation. I hope today’s article helped you to learn more about Ukraine.

Learning Ukrainian and looking for great resources? Check out our list of the 1000 most common words in Ukrainian with interactive flashcards. You can also learn Ukrainian step by step wherever you are with our free Ukrainian Lessons Podcast.