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Friday, 22 July 2016

343) Banknotes of the Republic of Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia–FYROM): i) About the Republic of Macedonia – A Brief ii) 1000 Denar Banknote depicting the Icon of the Madonna Episkepis with the Child Christ iii) Other Denominations of Banknotes:



343) Banknotes of the Republic of Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia–FYROM): i) About the Republic of Macedonia – A Brief ii) 1000 Denar Banknote depicting the Icon of the Madonna Episkepis with the Child Christ iii) Other Denominations of Banknotes:


i) About Macedonia – A Brief:

It is located in the Balkan Peninsula in South-East Europe and is one of the successor countries of former Yugoslavia. The Republic of Macedonia corresponds to the ancient Kingdom of Paeonia.

In the late 6th Century BC, the Achaemenid Persians under Darius the Great conquered the Paeonians territories.

In 479 BC, following the Second Persian invasion of Greece, the Persians withdrew from these territories.

In 365 BC, Philip II of Macedon conquered the territories of Upper Macedonia (Lykestis and Pelagonia) and the Southern part of Paeonia (Deuriopus) which he annexed to the Kingdom of Macedon.

His son, Alexander the Great conquered the remainder of the territories and annexed them to his Empire.

In 146 BC, the Romans captured these territories and established the Province of Macedonia.

During the late 6th Century AD, the Slavs raided Byzantine territories in the region of Macedon, aided by the Bulgars.

By late 7th Century AD a group of Bulgars, Slavs and Byzantines led by a Bulgar called Kuber, established the present day city of Bitola.

Around the 9th Century AD, the Slavic people settled in the territories of Macedonia converted to Christianity, during the reign of Tsar Boris I of Bulgaria.

In 1014 AD, the Byzantine Emperor Basil II defeated the armies of Tsar Samuil of Bulgaria and the Byzantines controlled the area for the first time after the 7th Century.

By late 12th Century, the decline of the Byzantines brought about a Norman occupation.

In the 13th Century, the Bulgarian Empire regained control of the region.

In the 14th Century, these territories became a part of the Serbian Empire, who saw themselves as liberators of their Slavic kin from Byzantine despotism. Skopje was established as the capital of Tsar Stefan Dusan’s Empire.

Also, in the 14th Century, after Dusan’s death, the Serbian Empire disintegrated and the rise of the Ottoman Empire heralded the conquest of the Central Balkan territories under whose domination these territories remained for the next five centuries or so.

Following the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913, which led to the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, most of their European held territories were divided between Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia.

Serbia annexed the territory of modern Macedonia under the name of “Juzna Srbija” (meaning “Southern Serbia”).

In 1915, the territories of present day Macedonia fell under the control of the Central Powers in the First World War, who returned it to Serbian control as part of the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

In 1929, the Kingdom was renamed as the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and divided into two provinces called “Banovinas”, with Southern Serbia (including the present day territories of the Republic of Macedonia) being called the “Vardar Banovina” of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

In 1934, the idea of a separate Macedonian Nation was mooted for the first time.

During World War II, Yugoslavia was occupied by Axis Powers.

In 1944, Anti-Fascist groups proclaimed the “People’s Republic of Macedonia” as a part of the People’s Federal Republic of Yugoslavia”. It was one of the six Republics of the Yugoslav Federation.

In 1963, the Federation was renamed as the “Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia” following which the name of Macedonia was also changed to “Socialist Republic of Macedonia”.

In 1991, the term “Socialist” was dropped from the country name, when it became independent from the Yugoslav Federation on 08.09.1991 and it has since been called the “Republic of Macedonia”.



In 1993, Macedonia became the youngest member-nation of the United Nations Organisation (UNO). Interestingly, as there was a dispute with Greece over the use of the name Macedonia, it was admitted under the provisional description Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – FYROM, as such the country is also referred to by this appellation.

It is a land-locked country with its capital at Skopje. Apart from Skopje, the other prominent cities are – Bitola, Kumanovo, Prilep, Tetovo, Ohrid, Veles, Stip, Kocani, Gostivar, Kavadarci and Strumica.

It has between 500,000 and 600,000 citizens.

The Currency:

The “Denar” or “Denari” is the currency of the Republic of Macedonia, subdivided into 100 “Deni.

ii) About the 1000 Denar Banknote:
               The Front of the 1000 Denar Banknote

On the Front of the 1000 Denar Banknote is an icon of the Virgin Episkepis from the Church of St. Vrachi-Mali, Ohrid, (early 14th Century) and is now placed in the Byzantine Museum in Athens, Greece. The icon is depicted in its true dimensions, with an image of the Christ child. The presence of two angels in the upper corners of the icon symbolises the depiction of a sorrowful Madonna, as she sits contemplating his coming passion. (Only one of the angels is taken on this Banknote design on the left hand side).
                            The Back of the 1000 Denar Banknote

On the Back of the 1000 Denar Banknote is a detail from Gregory’s Gallery (14th Century) from the Church of St. Sofia in Ohrid which was built in the 10th and 11th Centuries. This Church was the seat of the Ohrid Archbishopric and contains many invaluable frescos from the 11th and 14th Centuries.

The colour of this Banknote is Brown.

This Banknote was first issued in 1996 and upgraded in 2003.

The Church of St. Sophia, Ohrid:

The Church of St. Sophia is one of the most important monuments in Macedonia housing architecture and art from the “Middle Ages” (or the “Medieval period” from the 5th to 15th Century AD. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the “Renaissance” and the “Age of Discovery”).

The Church was built during the First Bulgarian Empire, after the official conversion to Christianity, probably during the reign of King Knyaz Boris I (852-889 AD).

It was originally designated as a Synod Church of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and later became a part of the Archbishopric of Ohrid. Subsequently, during rule of the Ottoman Empire (1299-1920 AD), it was converted into a mosque.

The interior of the Church has been preserved with its original frescos from the 11th to the 13th Centuries, which represent some of the most significant achievements in Byzantine paintings of that time (Byzantine paintings were made during the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire as well as States that inherited culturally from the Empire upon its decline and fall in the 15th Century AD, with the fall of Constantinople in 1453 AD. Several Eastern European States including Muslim ruled ones of the Eastern Mediterranean, preserved many aspects of the Empire’s culture and art for several Centuries afterwards, through which these paintings have survived).

In November 2009, the Macedonian Orthodox Church introduced a new Coat of Arms with the church of St. Sophia as a charge on the shield.
 The most famous of the surviving Byzantine art works is the mosaic of the Haga Sophia in Constantinople. This is the upper part of the image of “Christ Pantocrator” on the walls of the upper Southern gallery. Christ is flanked by the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist. This mosaic is from the 12th Century AD.

The Security features on this Banknote include:

 a Windowed Thread: which is 2 mm wide, with a visible micro-text bearing the abbreviation “HbPM”,



                                  Windowed thread on the Banknote
Intaglio: multicoloured printed text and engraving, 
                               Intaglio Print on the Banknote

 Registered three-dimensional water-mark: bearing the image of the “Madonna – Episkepis”, an icon of the Virgin Mary,
                          Watermark on the Banknote

Optically Variable Device (OVD):  OVD element hologram application, in the middle of the application is placed a larger figure of the numeral 1000 around the map of R. Macedonia with several smaller figures of the numeral 1000 is placed around them,
                      OVD Feature on the Banknote

Optically Variable Ink (OVI): can be seen around this image,

                          Optically Variable Ink on the Banknote

 Latent image: seen in the folds of the Virgin Mary’s dress, bearing the printed text “HbPM”. The Latent image is visible at a particular angle,
                                Latent Image on the Banknote

Micro-Text: In the thin line above the text,
                         Micro-text on the Banknote

See-Through Feature: Image of a star divided into two parts, one on each side of the Banknote which matches/overlaps when observed against the light,
                   See through feature on the Banknote


Iridescent ink: Coloured stripe with a metal layer, at which the flag of Macedonia and the numeral 1000 are visible when tilted against the light.

                       Iridescent Ink feature on the Banknote

iii) Other presently Circulating Banknotes:

Banknotes of the 1996 Series:

Security features:

All Banknotes possess a number of Security features such as a Watermark, Windowed Thread, Intaglio Print, Latent Image, Micro-text, See-through feature, OVD and Optically Variable Ink (OVI) etc.

The Designs on the Banknotes:


                 The Front of the 10 Denars Banknote
On the Front of the 10 Denars Banknote is depicted the Torso of the Egyptian Goddess Isis (Isida2nd Century BC), which is 42 cm high, sculpted from Albaster on amber colour. Imported to Ohrid, once known as Lihnidos, the Goddess Isida, Mother of the entire Nature, rules the Underworld. She is a comforter of sufferers and calmer of storms.

Also seen is  Gold Earring (4th Century BC), from Beranci or Berantsi, in the Moglia Region, Bitola (Bitola is a city in the South-Western part of the Republic of Macedonia which was an important administrative, cultural, industrial, commercial and education centre). This earring was discovered in a grave dating from the 4th Century BC. It is in the form of a crescent and made of gold filigree. The winged Sphinx is seen on the upper part of the ornament.
                  The Back of the 10 Denars Banknote

On the Back of the 10 Denars Banknote is depicted a Peacock Mosaic in Stobi (4th – 5th Century AD). This is a detail from the floor Mosaic from the baptisteries of the Episcopal Basilica in the ancient city of Stobi from the 5th – 6th Century AD. The peacock, a bird of paradise, drinking water from the source of life (Cantaros) symbolises the believers thirsting for the teachings of Christ, mental peace and tranquillity.
 Image of the peacock mosaic from Stobi which inspired the design on  the 10 Denars Banknote

The colour of this Banknote is lilac.

Stobi: (Stobi is a Paeonian word meaning “pillar or post” symbolising a “rock”) was an ancient town of Paeonia which was conquered by Philip V of Macedon in 217 BC and later in 168 BC, it was occupied by the Romans who turned into the capital of the Roman Province of Macedonia Salutaris (presently near Gradsko in the Republic of Macedonia).

It is located on the road that leads from the Danube to the Aegean Sea, where the Erigon River (present day Crna River) joins the Axios River (modern day Vardar River) and it was strategically a very important centre for both trade and warfare.

is a very important archaeological site with several buildings, religious artifacts, ceramic objects, intricate and beautifully made mosaics, a marble head of Augustus Caesar among others being unearthed giving an insight into the life and times of the city over the Ages.
                        The Front of the 50 Denars Banknote

On the Front of the 50 Denars Banknote is depicted a decorative Stucco Ark or Arch from the South Wall of the Church of St. Panteleimon in Gorno Nerezi, Skopjein and a “Folis” coin (“Folis”, meaning “a bag” usually made of leather - was a large Bronze coin used in Rome and Byzantine. Later the “Fals” was a bronze coin issued by the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates in the late 8th Century, which were initially imitations of the Byzantine Folis). 

The Folis coin depicted here: is of copper from the reign of Emperor Anastasie I (491–518 AD), introduced to eliminate the inflation and monetary chaos in the Eastern part of the Roman Empire. The uncontrolled minting of copper coins was replaced by introducing a new weight of copper Folis of 9.10 gms, which was 72nd equal part of the copper Pound. The Folis with “M” had a value of 50 Numies and the Folis with “K” inscription had a value of 20 Numies, while the one with “I” inscription had a value of 10 Numies. 
 Image of a Folis Coin marked with an “M” on the Reverse and depicting portrait of Anastasie I on the Obverse

The Decorative Stucco Ark or Arch from the South Wall of the Church of St. Panteleimon in Gorno Nerezi, Skopje: This is a frame from the fresco of St. Panteleimon, the patron of the Church which was built in 1164 and contains magnificent frescoes. St. Panteleimon was a doctor of Medicine and is always portrayed with a scalpel and a bottle of medicine in his hand. He is a protector of doctors and health.
                            The Back of the 50 Denars  Banknote

On the Back of the 50 Denars Banknote is depicted the Arhangel Gavril (meaning the “Archangel Gabriel”) in the Church of St. Ghiorghi, Kurbinovo.

Archangel Gabriel: is taken from the Scene of annunciation on the East Wall of the Church of St. Ghiorghi in Kurbinovo on the Lake Prespa. The Church dates from 1191 AD. The Frescoes were painted by the Artist – Pictor I.

The colour of this Banknote is blue
                The Front of the 100 Denars Banknote
On the Front of the 100 Denars Banknote is depicted a Ceiling Rosette in deep relief in an Albanian house in Debar.

Wealthy families used to decorate the ceilings of their houses with wood-carving, considered to be a Baroque Architectural element.
                           The Back of the 100 Denars Banknote

On the Back of the 100 Denars Banknote is depicted an engraving made by a Holland  printer Jacobus Harevin in 1594 showing a view of Skopje from an Albanian house. This engraving is now housed in Numberg.

The colour of this Banknote is lilac brown
                       The Front of a 500 Denar Banknote issued in 2003

On the Front of the 500 Denars Banknote is depicted a gold Death Mask from Trebenista (an ancient necropolis located in Macedonia, dating from the Iron Age around 7th Century BC, located near the town of Ohrid. During excavations, several graves, five gold masks and some iron ear-rings and plates were unearthed among other artefacts).

This Death Mask is made of fine gold tin and was discovered in a Nobleman’s grave from the 6th Century BC.
 The Back of a 500 Denar Banknote issued in 2003

On the Back of the 500 Denars Banknote is depicted a Poppy flower.

The Poppy was introduced in Macedonia in 1835. The blossom of the Poppy is of a violet colour. It is mostly grown in Tikves, Gevgelija, and Veles Ares.

The colour of this Banknote is red-brown.

This Banknote was later upgraded with more security features in 2003.

               The Front of a 500 Denar Banknote issued in 1993
This is an image of the 500 Denar Banknote issued under the 1993 Series of Banknotes. On the Front, it depicts Samuil’s fortress in Ohrid.
               The Back of a 500 Denar Banknote issued in 1993
On the Back is the Monastery of St Jovan Caneo in Ohrid.

The colour of this Banknote is brown-dark green.
                       The Front of a 5000 Denar Banknote

On the Front of the 5000 Denars Banknote is depicted the Bronze figure of Maenad (6th Century BC), Tetovo.

The Tetovo Maenid: is a bronze figurine, an archaeological discovery, unearthed in a nobleman’s grave discovered in Tetovo which was constructed in the last decades of the 6th Century BC. The figurine represents a character playing and dancing with her partner, a Satyr, in honour of the cult of the God Dionysus, the God of Grapes and Wine. It represents the artistic expression of the beginnings of the ancient era in Macedonia.
                   The Back of a 5000 Denar Banknote

On the Back of the 5000 Denars Banknote is depicted a Dog and Tree Mosaic, Heraclea Lyncestis, Cerberus the Dog tied to the Tree (5th – 6th Century AD), Bitola.

This Dog and Tree Mosaic is taken from the floor of the Nartex in the Great Basilica in Heraklea and represents the Christian Universe. The landscape is depicted by trees laden with fruit, around which birds are flying and between which are animals and bushes bearing flowers. Cerebrus the Dog is tied to the Fig tree, representing the Watcher of Heaven.

Banknotes of the 2014 Series:

The following denominations of Banknotes were added to the earlier Series in circulation in August 2014:
              The Front of a 200 Denars Banknote issued in 2014

On the Front of the 200 Denars Banknote is depicted an early medieval bronze fibula (found near Prilep) and a Relief of the Old Testament Psalm 41 (terracotta icon from Vinica).
           The Back of a 200 Denars Banknote issued in 2014

On the Back of the 200 Denars Banknote is depicted Artistic elements on the façade of a colourful mosque (Sarena Dzamija, Alaca Cami), Tetova, and marble tiles with floral designs of Isaak Beg mosque (Isak Dzamija), Bitola.

On the Front of the 2000 Denars Banknote is depicted a Bronze artefact in the shape of a cup poppy (discovered in Suva Reka, Gevgelija) and a Macedonian Bridal dress from Prilep.

On the Back of the 2000 Denars Banknote is depicted a Decoration on the inside of a gilded bowl (16th Century), “Source of Life” and peacocks.




(The 1000 Denar Banknote is from the collection of Jayant Biswas. Post researched and written by Rajeev Prasad)

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