|Bulgarian money: lev (ISO 4217 currency code is BGN.). The lev (plural: leva) is the currency of Bulgaria. It is divided in 100 stotinki. In archaic Bulgarian the word “lev” meant “lion” (the lion is the symbol of Bulgaria).
The lev was first introduced as Bulgaria’s currency in 1881 with a value equal to the French franc. On 5 July 1999 the lev was denominated at 1000:1 with 1 new lev equal to 1 Deutsche Mark. With the replacement of the Deutsche Mark by the euro, the lev’s peg effectively switched to the euro, at the rate of 1.95583 leva = 1 euro, which is the Deutsche Mark’s fixed exchange rate to euro. Since 1997, Bulgaria has been in a system of currency board and all Bulgarian currency in circulation has been backed 100% by the foreign exchange reserves of the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB). The exchange rate is unlikely to change before the lev’s retirement.
While some budget hotels and private rooms may quote their rates in euros, payments should be made in leva. Normally the leva price will simply be twice the given euro price (for example €10 = 20 BGN), though some places may work out the precise exchange rate.
Since there were several changes in the banknotes used for the past 25 years, there are some old banknotes that are still in possession of the Bulgarians. They sell those banknotes as souvenirs, but sometimes old Bulgarian money might go in circulation with the current Bulgarian money. That is why it is important to know and recognize the Bulgarian money and the current levs used.
Here they are: