The leu (ISO 4217 code MDL) is the currency of Moldova. Like the Romanian leu, the Moldovan leu (pl. lei) is subdivided into 100 bani (singular: ban). The name of the currency originates in Romania and means "lion".
Between 1918 and 1940 and again between 1941 and 1944, when Moldova was part of Romania, the Romanian leu was used also in the eastern part of Moldavia. The Moldovan leu was established on 29 November 1993, following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the creation of the independent republic of Moldova. It replaced the older cupon currency at a rate of 1 leu = 1000 cupon.
In Transnistria, a partially recognized state claimed in whole by Moldova, the Transnistrian ruble is used instead.
Coins consist of 1, 5, 10, and 25 bani in aluminium and 50 bani in aluminium-bronze. Aluminium 50 bani, and nickel-plated-steel 1 and 5 leu coins were issued in 1993 but have been withdrawn from circulation.
There have been two series of Moldovan leu banknotes. The first series was short-lived and only included 1, 5, and 10 lei.
* On the front side of each banknote only one man is represented - the best-known ruler of Moldavia - Ştefan cel Mare (Stephen the Great).
* On the back side of a 100 lei banknote the Bendery fortress is shown, though there is a typo in its name, as the word Thighina should be written without first "h" - Tighina.
* The first two lines of the Mioriţa ballad - «Pe-un picior de plai, Pe-o gură de rai…», are written in the white circle on the front side of each banknote.
* On the back side of a 1000 lei banknote the Presidency building is shown, yet the writing says that it's the Parliament building. This is because when these banknotes were first printed in 1992 this building was indeed the Parliament building, but then it became the Presidency building.
* On the back side of all the banknotes there are depicted Trajan's Column and The Endless Column.
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