Nizami Ganjavi, The Epic Persian Poet: 500 Manat (Azerbaijan, 1999)-Article

Updated: 5 days ago

This Azerbaijani banknote represents the 1st denomination of the Second Manat (Series 1993). After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, on 26 December 1991. The Soviet 7th Ruble (1991-1993) remained the currency of its successor states. This post-Soviet economic pact was known as the "Ruble Zone".

Azerbaijan along with Armenia and Georgia were amongst the first nations to leave the Ruble Zone. On 15 August 1992, Azerbaijan replaced the Soviet Ruble with the Second Manat. The exchange rate was 10 Soviet Rubles to 1 Manat. The Second Manat remained the official Azeri currency for over a decade.

On 1 January 2006, the Third Manat replaced the Second. The exchange rate was 5,000 ""Old" to 1 "New" Manat.


The observe features a large portrait of epic poet Nizami Ganjavi (1141–1209 CE), at its right side. Nizami work is greatly appreciated amongst the region known as Greater Iran. He was born in Ganja (now Azerbaijan), during late Seljuk Empire (1037–1194). His Persian language poems deal with subjects of romance and heroism, including historical figures such as Alexander the Great.

At the center is a large number "500", representing the note 500 Manat value. Surrounding it is a pattern of pastel color 8-pointed stars and "X"s. Above is the text "AZƏRBAYCAN MİLLİ BANKI", which translates to "National Bank of Azerbaijan". While the footer takes the form of an ornate frame.

Moving to the left we can see the note's watermark area. When backlit 3 flames appear, a reference to Azerbaijan's Old Iranian name, "The Land of the (Holy) Fire". Due to it's deep ties to the ancient Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. Which known for its fire temple, a representation of purity.

At the top of the watermark area is a decorative frame. Inside is a latent image, when properly lit and angled it reads "AMB". These are the Azeri initials of the National Bank of Azerbaijan. Below this latent image is one of the note's dual serial number, it reads "CB3384935".

At the bottom of the watermark area is an 8-pointed star, with a number "500" inside. While the number inside simply refers to the note's value. The star itself has cultural symbolism, as the Islamic khatim-sulayman. Translated as “seal of the prophets”, it represents life from birth to death.

The second serial number can be seen on the lower-right, on Nizami's portrait.


The reverse features an ornate Turkic-Persian style frame and underprint. Inside this frame is the text "BEŞ YÜZ MANAT", it translates to "Five Hundred Manat". Just as the observe the header refers to the "National Bank of Azerbaijan". The transparency of this header points to it being an overprint. As does the center frame and the header text above it.

At the lower-left is an additional number "500", it rests on a light blue backing. Notably it subtlety contains guilloché work inside. Which is only scantily used on this note. The only other notable instance of guilloché being behind observe latent image.

At the lower-right corner is an additional number "500". It rests on a false guilloché backing and is surrounded by a highly ornate frame. Some iridescent fibers can be seen nearby, on the watermark area. UV light exposure will make this fiber more visible.

Additional Notes

  • This note's dimensions are 126 x 63 mm or 4.96 x 2.48 in, smaller than a US Dollar.

  • The preferable method to preserve this note are standard size protective sleeves.

  • The Second Manat ISO code was ARM, it uses "" as its official symbol.

  • The Manat is subdivided into 100 Qapik, which is derived from the Russian Kopeck.

  • Coins denominated in Qapik were rarely used due to rising inflation, making them impractical.

  • A lower case letter "m" can be used in place of "", when Unicode (U+20BC) is unavailable.

  • The First Manat circulated in the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, from 1919-1923.

2 views0 comments