Moldovan Currency – Leu

Moldovan Leu (MDL) celebrates today 20 years. 

In Moldova, the basic role in terms of currency, played the foreign money made of gold and silver: ducats, florins, zloty etc. In the XVIIth century in the Balkans and Moldova made ​​its appearance the Dutch currency “leeuwendaalder” that had the face of a lion on. Moldovans called these coins lei. In 1867, after the Union of the Romanian Principalities, with the name “lion” was named Romanian currency.

Between 1918 and 1940 and again between 1941 and 1944, when Moldova was part of Romania, the Romanian leu was used also in Moldova. The Moldovan leu was established on 29 November 1993, following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the creation of the independent Republic of Moldova. It replaced the older cupon currency at a rate of 1 leu = 1000 cupon.


Although the National Bank Act has been passed in June 1991, it did not specify the name of the monetary unit. The choice was made between ducat and leu, preferring the latter. The first banknote issued had the nominal value of 1 leu. In April 1994, the 5 lei bill was issued and a month later appeared 10 and 50 lei banknotes. Over a year were issued 100 and 200 lei and in 1999 – 500 lei. In 2003, appeared banknote with the highest value of 1,000 lei.


There have been two series of Moldovan leu banknotes. The first series was short-lived and only included 1, 5, and 10 lei. The front of all of these notes—and all subsequent notes—feature a portrait of Ştefan cel Mare (Stephen the Great, also known as Stephen III of Moldavia), the prince of Moldavia from 1457 to 1504. The first two lines of the Mioriţa (The Little Ewe) ballad appear on the back, printed vertically between the denomination numeral and the vignette of the fortress. The Mioriţa is an old Romanian pastoral ballad considered one of the most important pieces of Romanian folklore. The lines “Pe-un picior de plai, Pe-o gură de rai” translate as “Near a low foothill, at Heaven’s door sill”.



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