macedonian denar currency bills notes money cash macedonia MKD

Macedonia Currency Spotlight

In Business and Currency by Kyle RammlerLeave a Comment

Macedonia was the poorest Yugoslav republic though, despite the turbulent 1990s, the country has posted some of the highest levels of GDP growth in Europe since 2000. Despite this success, the Macedonian denar has steadily dropped in value since 2008.

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History and Culture | Travel Guide

  • Macedonia Currency: Macedonian denar
  • Macedonia Currency Code: MKD
  • MKD Symbols: ден
  • MKD Subunits: deni (discontinued)
  • MKD Notes: 10, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 denari
  • MKD Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 50 denari
  • Macedonia Central Bank: National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia
  • Macedonia GDP (nominal): $13 billion


Macedonia declared independence from Yugoslavia in September 1991, and the first Macedonian denar was introduced in April of 1992 on a provisional basis in order to solidify Macedonia’s monetary independence. The National Bank was founded in the same month and the first Macedonian denar replaced the Yugoslav dinar at a rate of 1 to 1. The first denar used temporary notes called “value coupons”.

In 1993 the first denar was replaced at a rate of 100 to 1 by the new permanent denar. In anticipation of the new currency, notes were printed in secret. This secrecy resulted in the first round of notes being printed on substandard paper which had to be replaced. Due to the rapidly changing political situation the name of the notes was omitted from printing for fear that the name could be changed at the last moment (which would have required a full reprint). Similarly the first notes name the issuer as the “National Bank of Macedonia” rather than “the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia” as it was renamed.  


The first round of notes were designed in just one week, with a small budget, hence the six lowest denomination bills were all printed with the same imagery (albeit in different colours).

A round of notes was issued for the new currency in 1993, and followed by an update in 1996 and 2014.

Denomination Colour Obverse Reverse
10 denars Lilac The Egyptian goddess Isis Mosaic in Stobi, an ancient town considered to be the most famous archeological site in Macedonia
50 denars Blue Fresco from St. Pantelejmon (famous Byzantine church dating from 1164) Arhangel Gavril in the church St. Ǵorǵi, Kurbinovo.
100 denars Lilac brown Skopje engravings by Jacobus Harevin View of Skopje
200 denars Relief of Psalm 41 from the Old Testament Artistic elements from the facade of prominent mosques
500 denars Red brown Gold mask from Trebenista (an ancient necropolis) Poppy flower
1000 denars Brown Madonna Episkepis from the Church of St. Vraci Church of St. Sophia
2000 denars Bronze cup poppy artifact, Macedonian bridal dress from Prilep Decoration on the inside of a 16th century gilded bowl
5000 denars Red brown green Bronze figure of Maenad (the female followers of Dionysus)


The Macedonia denar hit its highest value in recent history in April of 2008 when it closed at a value of USD 0.02601. Since then it has had a rocky path downward, falling to 0.02264 in May of 2014, and then 0.01785 a year later. Over the last year the MKD has traded between 0.01814 and 0.01882.

USD US dollar Macedonian denar MKD rate watch 5 years foreign exchange

MKD to 1 USD over the past 5 years (courtesy of Rate Watch)

CAD Canadian dollar Macedonian denar MKD rate watch 5 years foreign exchange

MKD to 1 CAD over the past 5 years (courtesy of Rate Watch)


Macedonia was the poorest region in the former Yugoslavia, making up only around 5% of total output. Until 1996 Macedonia’s fledgling economy was grounded by UN sanctions on Yugoslavia (Macedonia’s biggest trading partner) and a Greek economic embargo. War, sanctions, and economic instability plagued the Balkans and hurt the Macedonian economy throughout the 1990s, but the country has enjoyed strong growth since 2000. Macedonia has one of the highest average growth rates in Europe, at 4%.  The euro crisis took a toll in 2009 and 2010 when the country posted growth of just 0.9% and 0.7% respectively, but quickly rebounded to 2.9% in 2011 and has stayed steadily between 3.9% and 4.1% between 2012 and 2016. Agriculture makes up about 10% of GDP, industry 25%, and services 65%. Despite this strong GDP growth, unemployment is still at around 24%.

macedonian denar coin money stack 10

Last Word

Macedonia has endured economic hardship both before and after the collapse of Yugoslavia. However the country has enjoyed a long period of sustained growth recently and will look to continue along this path.

Learn more about Macedonia with our Country Profile and Travel Guide!

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