Belarus is located in eastern Europe, surrounded by Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, and Russia. It was formerly known as Belorussia or White Russia and was the smallest of the three Slavic republics included in the Soviet Union. About a fifth of the population of Belarus resides in its capital, Minsk, an expansive modern city that was almost completely restored after its near devastation during World War II. Belarus first declared independence under German occupation in 1918, and the Belarusian People's Republic was then formed. Belarus became independent from the USSR in 1991.
The following year, in 1992, the republic introduced its own currency, the Belarusian rubel, along with a securities market and stock exchange. Today, Belarus banknotes are printed in values of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500.
There were no coins in circulation in the history of sovereign Belarus until its redenomination in 2016. The National Bank of Belarus has produced commemorative coins, however, which captured the interest of coin collectors and are a legal tender. These coins were made of gold, silver, and copper-nickel alloy and depict various themes, historical events, and famous people. Official Belarus coins today come in denominations of 1 and 2 rubles and kopecks like 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50.