1920-2020 Issues

News by - on

Between East and West

Azerbaijan is a country in the Caucasus located on the dividing line between Europe and Asia. The name "Azerbaijan" comes from the word "azer" (fire) and due to the abundance of oil and gas in its territory, Azerbaijan is also nicknamed "the land of fire"! The capital is Baku, the official language is Azeri and the currency is the manat. The country has common borders with Russia to the north, Iran to the south, Turkey to the west-southwest, Armenia to the west and Georgia to the northwest.

Islamized in the 7th century by the Arabs, the region came under Persian domination in the 16th century. The country then becomes the scene of fights and political rivalries between Turkey, Persia and later Russia. Baku was annexed to Russia by Tsar Peter I in 1723. But after the Russian retreat in 1735, all of Azerbaijan located north of the Aras River then came under Persian control until 1813. The country was again annexed to the Russian Empire during the reign of Tsar Alexander I. After the Russian Revolution of March 1917, Azerbaijan, led by Mammad Amin Rassoulzade, experienced a first but brief independence between 1918 and 1921. Although the allied powers recognized the very young Azerbaijani republic from January 15, 1920, the Red Army however invaded the country on April 27 of the same year and the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan was proclaimed the next day. The lifespan of the First Republic was ultimately only 24 months!

The country was integrated in 1922, and for many decades, into the Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic within the Soviet Union, before becoming again, in 1936, the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic. However, it was not until the collapse of the communist bloc in 1991 that Azerbaijan began a process of independence, while the country was in the midst of conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. In 1990, the country adopted a declaration of republican sovereignty and declared itself officially independent on August 30, 1991 ...

The three lives of the manat

The manat is the currency of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Its origin is borrowed from the Russian word Монета "moneta" (coin). During the short-lived Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan, a first issue of banknotes of 25, 50, 100, 250 and 500 rubles is put into circulation. These banknotes are not yet officially denominated in manat ...


Above: front of 500 rubles type 1920. Dimensions: 152 x 95 mm. The banknote is worded in three languages: Azeri, French and Russian!

The second manat

The National Bank of Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan Milli Bankı) was founded on February 11, 1992, a few months after the country's independence, replacing the state bank of the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic. On August 15, 1992 at midnight, the banking institute put into circulation the new Azerbaijani currency, the Azerbaijani manat, replacing the old Soviet ruble which had been in use since 1920, with an issue of banknotes of 1, 5 10, 50, 100 and 250 manat representing the "Maiden Tower" of Baku on the front. Between 1993 and 2001, several denominations of larger values of 500, 1,000, 10,000 and 50,000 manat will be added during an additional issue.


Above: front of 250 manat type 1992. Dimensions: 125 x 63 mm.

The third manat

In 2005, the country began a major monetary reform and on January 1st, 2006, the National Bank of Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan Milli Bankı) introduced a new manat corresponding to a value of 5,000 old manats (1:5000)! The new series of 6 banknotes of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 manat is designed by Robert Kalina, one of the designers of the euro.


Above: front of 1 manat type 2005. Dimensions: 120 x 70 mm.

From 2009, the National Bank of Azerbaijan changes its name and becomes the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan Mәrkәzi Bankı). Between 2009 and 2018, the new institute is launching a new series of banknotes, for the most part similar to those of 2005, but adding a new value of 200 manat type 2018.

In 2020, the current and last issue sees the arrival of three banknotes of 1, 5 and 50 manat, identical to the notes of the 2005 and 2009 issues, but with some modifications, including a backside thought out and designed vertically.


Our sources

  • Story of Azerbaijan, Wikipedia.
  • "Azerbaijan", Banknote Museum.
  • The Banknote Book "Azerbaijan" by Owen W. Linzmayer.
  • "Azerbaijan" Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, 1368-1960, 12th edition (pages 99 to 100).
  • "Azerbaijan" Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, 1961-present, 17th edition (pages 83 to 85).
  • Photos archive:

Top of page
© 2018-2021, Numizon. All rights reserved.
Text index Legal mentions Contact us
Build in Paris - version A-3.7-1.5.7-161
Numizon NavigationNumizon Navigation