Armenia Currency: The Ultimate Guide to Armenian Money (AMD)
What is the Currency in Armenia? What does it look like and what is the story behind it? What is the exchange rate? Here you will find all this information along with so many other helpful things + a Currency Converter. The Ultimate Guide to Armenia’s Currency!
The official currency used in the Republic of Armenia is the Armenian dram (AMD). This is what you will be paying with while you travel throughout the country, go to restaurants and cafes, and when you go shopping.
In this article, you will find out all of this information along with a lot of helpful advice and how to convert your currency.
Table of Contents
The History of the Armenian Dram
When the Soviet Union collapsed, there were many people in the region who wanted to keep the currency the same and establish a ruble zone, much similar to the way it is now in the European Union, among the countries that were a part of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Armenia joined this effort and made its currency the Russian ruble, but then having one sole currency in this region, where the economies and governments were severely unstable, proved to be potentially dangerous. Reforms took place in Russia, which caused the ruble zone to collapse and all the CIS nations had to make their own currency. This resulted in the Armenian Dram being established on November 22, 1993.
The Armenian currency symbol looks like the Armenian letter D (Դ) with an extra line going through it: ֏
Who are the People on the Armenian Bills?
Once you look at the money of Armenia, you will notice that people are depicted on all the different bills. They each have their own significance in the Armenian culture.
1000 dram: One of the most prominent Armenian poets and literary critics of all time, Paruyr Sevak, is depicted on the 1000 dram bill.
2000 dram: On the 2000 dram bill, you will see Armenian-Soviet chess grandmaster Tigran Petrosian, who was also known as Iron Tigran for his defensive style.
5000 dram: Famous American-Armenian author William Saroyan is depicted on the 5000 dram bill.
10000 dram: Komitas, who was a prominent Armenian priest, composer, singer, musicologist, and a pioneer of ethnomusicology is portrayed on the 10000 dram bill.
20000 dram: Ivan Aivazovsky, known for his exceptional art and one of the best marine artists of all time, is portrayed on the 20000 dram bill.
50000 dram: And finally, St. Gregory the Illuminator, who is the patron saint of Armenia and credited as being the catalyst for Armenia adopting Christianity as its national religion, is depicted on the 50000 dram bill.
Cash vs. Credit Card in Armenia
Armenia might be one of the countries in the world that still mostly operates using cash. So, you will surely want to have cash on you at all times when you arrive. There are plenty of restaurants, cafes, and stores in Yerevan where you will be able to present your credit card without any difficulties. There are also e-wallets that allow customers to pay that way. However, if you plan on using public transportation, going to most stores outside of the prominent malls, or going to the regions, it is best to take cash with you because many places simply don’t have the means to accept credit cards.
Where to Exchange Currency in Armenia
When you arrive in Armenia, there are several options for you to be able to exchange your currency. Be sure to check the Armenia currency exchange rate for the day because it may fluctuate. For one, you may exchange the currency at the airport when you arrive, but some people find that the exchange rates at the airport are higher than elsewhere. As you travel throughout the city, you will see that many prominent stores, such as SAS, Yerevan City and Carrefour, have currency exchange offices. Another option is to exchange your currency at any bank. Be sure to take care of this before you go on a trip to Armenian villages or the regions because currency exchanges might not be as accessible in those parts of the country and you won’t be able to pay using the currency of another country.
Armenian Currency Converter Online
You can use this to help you determine the exchange rate:
Tax-Free Shopping in Armenia
There are plenty of stores you can shop in that have ‘tax-free’ clearly written on the entrance. You can ask the store’s employees for more information on the individual shop’s tax-free regime. Tax-free stores can mostly be found in Yerevan, however, so that’s something to keep in mind.
But if you are a foreign citizen, it is possible for you to be able to receive a VAT refund when you leave the country, which can only be done if you purchased these goods from companies that pay VAT. You can claim VAT on items that are not food, tobacco, medicine, any cultural heritage pieces, and vehicles or vehicle parts. There are more regulations for you to be aware of when it comes to claiming VAT. You can submit your passport and the tax invoice to the customs body in order to receive your refund.
The tax-free service will be implemented when you spend more than 50,000 AMD in the same day at a store in Yerevan that offers it. The cashier will give you a special card that you will present to the border officials at the airport or the border. Keep in mind that you should not use the items that you purchased before you leave Armenia.
Armenian Currency: What Will Your Money Get You?
If you’re coming from the United States, Canada, or Europe, you will be pleasantly surprised by how cheap everything seems to be in Armenia. You will be able to do a lot with your money here, especially when you leave Yerevan and go exploring in the regions.
100 dram: The price of a bus ride to and from anywhere in Yerevan.
200 dram: The cost of bread, a small bottle of water, a small pack of gum, a small cup of iced coffee.
500 dram: 1 kilogram of different types of produce (tomatoes, apples, potatoes, onions, lettuce), rice, 1 liter of milk, you can also buy beer at the grocery store.
1000 dram: You can use this to buy coffee at a coffee shop, a cheap breakfast, good snacks, a taxi ride (the minimum is 600 dram), and some hygienic necessities. Most packs of cigarettes also cost around 1000 dram.
5000 dram: You can have one or two inexpensive meals (if you’re alone, then possibly more), a lot of food at the grocery store, and any hygienic necessities.
Keep in mind that you can use any of the above to pay for a phone plan or extra minutes/data on your phone card, depending on the type that you chose.
What is the Best Currency to Take to Armenia?
The best currencies to take with you to Armenia are rubles, euros, and dollars. All of these can be exchanged at any currency exchange office or bank. If you come from a country that has a different currency, you might want to exchange that for any of the aforementioned currencies before arriving because it may not be possible to do so in Armenia.
Question: Any other questions or concerns you have before coming to Armenia?