North Macedonia is part of the Balkan region of Europe. Though it is a young country, it has a rich history that dates back to ancient Greece. It gained its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, and officially renamed itself from Macedonia to Northern Macedonia to settle its thirty-year naming dispute with Greece. Now it is a part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). North Macedonia owes its very diverse population to its location in the middle of a communication route between Asia and Europe.
Early Banknotes in Macedonia
Since North Macedonia seceded from the Yugoslav dinar monetary zone in April 1992, it adopted the Macedonian denar. Petar Ilievski, an academician, proposed the name denar. As a result, the Macedonian denar was introduced at par with the Yugoslav dinar. The denar was also pegged to the deutsche mark at 360 to 1.
Early Macedonian banknotes were created and printed in secret, even before Macedonia declared its independence. It did not reflect the denar currency nor the name of the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia. Sasho Josifovski, Borce Nikolovski, and Borce Todorovski are the designers of the banknotes. The six lowest denominations (10 denars, 25 denars, 50 denars, 100 denars, 500 denars, and 1,000 denars) have identical designs and only differed in color. Also they all featured a man and a woman picking tobacco leaves in front and the Ilinden monument in Krusevo at the back.
The largest denomination was the 10,000 denar banknote. It was violet in color. The obverse side featured the Church of Saint Sofia in Ohrid. Its reverse side featured male dancers and the Ilinden monument in Krusevo. Though it did not have a security thread, it still had a simple horizontal pattern watermark.
Due to inflation and the low paper quality of the first banknote issue, the denar was revalued and new banknotes were issued. The second series of banknotes feature designs by Biljana Unkovska, an artist who won the open design competition for the denar. Unlike the earlier issue which had similar designs for the six lowest denominations, each banknote design is unique.
The violet 20 denari banknote of 1993 features the 15th century Daul Pasha Bath domed building in Skopje and the Ilinden Monument in Krusevo on its obverse side. Its reverse side, which is the only note in the series that is vertically-oriented, features the 16th century clock tower in Skopje. The security features of the note include a solid red security thread and a watermark of the Ilinden monument.
In 1996, a new series of banknotes begin to circulate. These note designs are still in circulation. The only exception is the 5,000 denar note, which was withdrawn in 2017 to rebalance the structure of banknotes after the introduction of the 2,000 denar banknote.
The purple 10 denari banknote design begins to circulate in 1996. In 2018, the bank withdrew the 10 and 20 denar paper notes and replaced them with the polymer notes. These polymer notes still had the same design as its predecessor, but the watermark disappeared. This 2018 10 denari banknote has a peacock theme. Also its obverse side shows a crescent-shaped gold filigree 4th century BC earring, a peacock, and the alabaster torso statue of the Egyptian goddess Ishida. Also, its reverse side shows the peacock floor mosaic from the baptisteries of Episcopal Basilica in Stobi. The note still includes a simulated windowed security thread.