|Money in Azerbaijan||
Azeri word for money is 'pul'. The currency of Azerbaijan is the manat
(1 manat = 100 gopik). Currency code: AZN.
The manat was introduced in August 1992, initially circulating in parallel with the Russian rouble, and becoming the sole legal tender in January 1994. The manat is issued by the Azerbaijan National Bank (on the right).
The Azeri currency has had a more or less tranquil life. In the autumn of 1998 the Russian Rouble crisis resulted in intervention and a tightening of liquidity by the central bank to keep the exchange rate and restore confidence in the Manat. In succeeding months, the Manat gradually appreciated, due in part also to heavy inflows of foreign currency, and was devalued 6.9% in June 1999 to avoid over-inflation. During 2000 a nominal depreciation of 4.3% occurred against the dollar.
The end of 2005 brought major changes with a presidential decree introducing a currency reform, after a 3 month transition period culminating on January 1st 2006 new manats replacing old at a rate of 5000 to 1.
The bills and coins were designed by Robert Kalina, who also designed the euro, and the stylistic resemblances are strong. The sign for the new manat resembles an upended euro sign with a touch of McDonalds and Azerbaijanis have taken to calling the new currency "The Caucasian euro."
The 1 manat banknote symbolizes Azerbaijan's rich traditional and modern culture. It depicts images of Azerbaijani folk musical instruments on the obverse, ornaments of ancient Azerbaijani carpets on the reverse.
The 5 manat banknote symbolizes Azerbaijan’s valuable contribution to the world literature. On the obverse, it depicts ancient writers, poets, and books from Azerbaijan, while the reverse pictures rock drawings of Gobustan, samples of Orhon-Yenisey and letters from the contemporary Azerbaijani alphabet.
The 10 manat banknote symbolizes Azerbaijan’s ancient traditions of statehood and its rich history, depicting images of old Baku, the Sharvanshahs’ Palace and the Maiden Tower against a background of the Icheri Shekher wall on the obverse; on the reverse, ornaments of ancient Azerbaijani carpets and a map showing Azerbaijans integration into Europe can be seen.
The 20 manat banknote symbolizes the major goal of current Azerbaijani foreign policy, the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan - i.e., the Nagorno-Karabakh issue with Armenia. On the obverse, signs of power are displayed (a sword, a helmet and a shield), while the the symbol of peace (harybulbul) is depicted on the reverse, once again together with the map also shown on the 10 manat banknote.
The 50 manat banknote symbolizes Azerbaijan's education and its future, displaying youth, stairs (as a symbol of progress), the sun (as a symbol of force and light) and chemical and mathematical symbols (as signs of science) on the obverse, while the reverse once again shows the common features of Azerbaijani carpet ornaments and the European map.
Finally, the 100 manat banknote symbolizes Azerbaijan's economic development and its status as a flourishing nation. Architectural symbols from antiquity up to today, the manat currency symbol and symbols of economic growth are displayed on the obverse, while the common features (carpets and map) are shown on the reverse.
The central bank plans the introduction of a 200 manat note and the replacement of the lower denominations with coins.
At present Azerbaijan is almost a cash only economy. Credit cards and travellers cheques are rarely accepted other than by the major hotels and banks, however this is slowly changing.
Foreign currency is normally not accepted in shops but can be exchanged for local currency at over 600 exchange bureaux all over Baku - without any bureaucracy. Numerous shops operate their own exchange bureaux, you'll find them in supermarkets, clothes shops.... Some exchange bureaux operate round the clock.
There are only a
few cash machines, but they are better than average! In some, with
your card you can get not only manats, but also US dollars and Russian
roubles! These days cash machines outside Baku are also easy to find, specially
in the rayons' "capitals". The ATMs are operated by the International Bank
of Azerbaijan, Azerigazbank, Respublica Bank, Busbank, Mugan Bank, Texnikabank,
Most Bank... Not all will accept international cards (VIsa, MC, JCB...).
In Baku these are some of their locations:
rate: 1 Euro = 1.2361 Manat while 1 US$: 0.9147
Gold and Foreign Exchange Reserves: $ 875,000,000 (2004 est.)
Importing and exporting manats by non-residents is prohibited. Foreign currency must be declared on arrival. The export of foreign currency is limited to the amount declared on arrival (so don't forget to indicate everything on the customs declaration, as on exit officials are notorious for trying to be too helpful with any excess!). Residents may only import or export up to manat 500,000 if declared on departure and arrival. Residents and non-residents (individuals or companies) may freely open foreign exchange accounts at banks in Azerbaijan. No declaration of origin of the foreign exchange is required.
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