The currency in Bulgaria is lev. In the national language this is written Лев or Левове. The ISO code is BGN. The currency has been in place in Bulgaria since 1881. The Bulgarian lev can be divided into 100 stotínki.
The naming of Lew goes back to an old form of the word lion. This name was chosen because the money in Bulgaria had embossed the coat of arms of the country on its coins, on which a lion can be seen among other things. In Bulgarian, one hundred stotinka means, to which this term can be traced back. In the figurative sense it means hundredths of a lev.
The story of the lev
The introduction of the lev in Bulgaria happened in 1881 after the Bulgarians declared independence from the Ottoman Empire. In the beginning, the lev was equal to the franc of the French, including the Latin Union of Coins.
Under the reign of Prince Alexander I there were coins of 10, 5 and 2 stotinki in bronze and 50 stotinki and 5, 2 and 1 leva each in silver. On the front side of the coins the coat of arms of Bulgaria could be seen and on the reverse side a wreath with the nominal value. During his reign, Tsar Ferdinand had his own face imprinted on the coins. At that time the coat of arms was only available on the 20, 10, 5 and 2½ Stotinki coins made of nickel-copper alloy. The silver coins showed the king’s face. In 1894 Bulgarian gold coins were introduced, which were worth 100, 20 or 10 leva. At that time, one ounce of gold was equivalent to around 100 leva.
When Bulgaria lost during World War I, the country experienced severe inflation. At that time the lev was only worth around 0.1 gram of fine silver. Before the war, the value was around 4.3 grams. Up to 1940 there were 100, 50 and 20 leva coins in silver, after which they were only made in steel, copper-nickel or iron because of the war.
After the end of World War II, the lev had no value in the new People’s Republic, which made a reform of the currency necessary. This took place at the beginning of 1962. 100 of the original leva were now a new lev. Socialism made the country’s currency stable. However, no gold or silver coins were issued, only coins made of copper alloy.
After the collapse of the socialist system, new banknotes and coins were produced from 1992. But at the beginning of the 1990’s there was again strong inflation, so that in 1997 the ratio of 1 Deutsche Mark to 1000 Lev was set. In 1999 the lev was changed again, now there was a new lev for 1000 old leva. This represented roughly 1 to 1 the value of the German mark.
Bulgaria has been fighting for some time to enter the EU and thus to enter the euro currency. In June 2018, however, the country was still not able to meet all the necessary requirements.