Lebanon is a Western Asian country with a rich history. Though it is one of the smallest countries in Asia, its proximity to Israel, Palestine, Cyprus, and Syria led to its religiously diverse population and long and tumultuous history. It was the home of the Phoenicians, a key port of the Ottoman Empire, and a French mandate until it gained independence in 1943. Read further and we will go into Lebanese banknote history.
Early Lebanese Notes
The Treaty of Sevres formally partitioned the Ottoman Empire between the French and the English on August 1920. Lebanon and Syria became temporary French mandates in the League of Nations. Syrian pounds were circulated in the region until The Bank of Syria and Lebanon issued separate Lebanese pounds. However, Syrian and Lebanese pound notes were used interchangeably in the region.
Early Lebanese notes were colorful. They featured two different cultural and architectural landmarks, and had stylized borders and animal watermarks.
For instance, this 25 Lebanese pound features the arches from the Great Mosque of Baalbek and stylized Cyprus tree borders in front and the lion frieze from the Temple of Jupiter in Baalbek at the back. The watermark area is highlighted by a circle, and its watermark is a bull head.
Modern Lebanese notes retained the same design since the mid-90s. The notes have abstract geometric designs, a cedar tree registration device, and larger texts. Large denominations also have stylized drawings of different artefacts. Banknotes in the 90’s and early 2000’s had barcodes. However, when the notes’ security features were updated in 2011 onwards, the barcodes disappeared.
This 5,000 Lebanese pound banknote features square geometric designs and a cedar tree registration device on both sides of the note. In later designs, the barcode is no longer present, a unique serial number replaces it.