Understanding Armenian Currency: A Guide to the Armenian Dram

February 15th, 2023

Understanding a country’s currency is an important aspect of traveling, investing, or conducting business there. For anyone planning to visit or work in Armenia, understanding the Armenian Dram – the official currency in Armenia, is crucial.

In this guide, we'll take you on tour through the history, current state, and everyday usage of the Armenia currency. We’ll also touch on the challenges that the currency faced and how it is evolving with the times. By the end of it, you'll be able to navigate the currency of the land of Mount Ararat and delicious dolma like a pro without breaking a sweat or your bank account.

Time to brush up on your Armenian currency knowledge! Ready? Let’s get to it.

Armenian Currency 101: Learning the Ropes on Armenian Dram

First things first: What is the Armenian currency? The Armenian Dram (Armenian: դրամ), also known as AMD, is the official currency of Armenia (The Republic of Armenia).

This monetary unit of Armenia was first introduced in 1993, replacing the Soviet Ruble as the country gained independence. The currency symbol of the Armenian Dram is ֏ (also represented by the ISO code AMD), and 1 dram is divided into 100 Lumma.

The word “dram” (rooted in the Greek “drachma” and the Arabic “dirham”) translates to “money” in the English language.

Which Countries Use Dram?

"Dram" is the official currency of Armenia, but also of the neighboring region of the Republic of Artsakh or the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic – an unrecognized, breakaway state in the South Caucasus that is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but is governed by a self-proclaimed republic. There, it is called the Nagorno-Karabakh Dram (NKRD). Intrigued? Feel free to check out some other weird currency facts you probably didn’t know. 

Armenian Money: Denominations of Armenian Dram Banknotes and Coins

The Armenian Dram is a unique currency with an interesting array of banknotes and coins. The banknotes come in denominations of 500, 1000, 5000, 10000, 20000, and 50000 drams and feature a range of historical figures and cultural landmarks on them. From the ancient Urartu king Sarduri II to the iconic architectural masterpiece, the Saint Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral, each Armenia currency note tells a story of the country's rich history and heritage.

The coins, on the other hand, are available in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 drams, featuring a variety of designs, such as the Armenian coat of arms and the national symbol of the country, Mount Ararat. The coins are made of different metals, different sizes, and shapes, making them not only useful but also fascinating collectibles.

Overall, the Armenian Dram banknotes and coins are not only a medium of exchange but also a window into the country's culture and history. On that note…

Who is on 20,000 Dram?

The 20,000 Armenian Dram bill showcases the legendary Armenian painter Martiros Saryan.

Saryan, who lived from 1880 to 1972, was an accomplished artist and established a distinctive national style of modern painting in Armenia. The background of the note features some of Saryan's own floral sketches, as well as a charming illustration of brushes and a color palette. 

The back of the bill displays a breathtaking landscape painting by Saryan, which truly captures the essence of Armenia's beauty. However, it’s important not to get too carried away with the aesthetics and ensure you know how to tell if money is fake to avoid being the victim of counterfeit. 

Ready to sell?

Are you ready to sell your currency? Stop waiting and request a Shipping Kit. We will provide everything you need to ship and receive funds for currencies you own.

A Short History of the Armenian Dram

The Armenian Dram is much more than just a currency – it reflects the country's rich history, culture, and economic development. 

The history of the Armenian currency is a fascinating journey through the country's political and economic evolution. The origins of the currency can be traced back to ancient times, when the region was part of the Kingdom of Urartu. However, the modern currency as we know it today was first introduced in 1993 when Armenia gained independence from the Soviet Union.

Over the years, the value of the currency in Armenia has fluctuated due to various economic and political factors. The Armenia Dram's early years were marked by hyperinflation, with the exchange rate reaching as high as 500 AMD to 1 US dollar. However, the government's efforts to stabilize the economy have resulted in a more stable currency in recent years. The Nagorno-Karabakh War and the 2008 global financial crisis also significantly impacted the Armenia currency value, reflecting the country's ongoing economic and political battles.

Despite these challenges, the Armenian Dram has remained a symbol of the country's sovereignty and a key element of the country's economic development. Understanding the history of the Armenian currency gives us a deeper insight into the country's culture and the way it has been shaped by past events.

Armenian Currency Exchange Today: Current State and Exchange Rates of the Armenian Dram

The current exchange rate of the Armenian Dram is relatively stable. But how much is a dram worth? Let’s break it down.

  • Dollar to Armenian Dram: The USD to Armenian dram exchange rate is 1 US dollar, equating to approximately 400 AMD. 
  • Armenian Dram to USD: If you’re considering converting the Armenian currency to USD (dram to dollar), 1 AMD equals around 0.002526 USD, respectively. 

Since currencies are volatile by nature, you can always use our currency converter to check out the current exchange rate for the Armenian dram and keep up.

The Armenian economy has been growing in recent years, which has positively impacted the stability of the Armenian Dram. However, the country's dependence on Russia and the ongoing conflicts with neighboring Azerbaijan continue to pose economic challenges.

The Central Bank of Armenia sets monetary policy and controls the supply of Armenia currency to maintain stability and protect against inflation. So, for further information and resources, the Central Bank of Armenia website is a good starting point.

Using the Armenian Dram in Everyday Life: Tips and Tricks for Tourists and Business Travelers

Does Armenia use the euro or dollar? Can we use USD in Armenia? The short answer is no. You can’t use USD or EUR in Armenia. However, the Armenian Dram is widely accepted throughout the country – you can use it to pay for everything from transportation to lodging and dining. For tourists visiting the country, it’s worth noting that many smaller businesses and street vendors may not accept credit cards, so it's always a good idea to have some cash on hand. 

When it comes to exchanging money, you can exchange your foreign currency at banks, currency exchange offices, or hotels. However, be aware that the exchange rates may vary and be much higher in Armenia, so it's a good idea to shop around for the best rate and equip yourself with some Armenian drams before visiting.

As a tourist, it's also important to be mindful of the taxes and fees when making purchases, as these can add up quickly. Sales tax in the Land of Mount Ararat is 20%, and some services, such as hotel accommodation and car rental, have additional fees. Also, be aware that prices may differ in tourist areas compared to local areas.

Make the Most of Your Armenian Money

This post highlighted important information that will help you navigate the Armenian currency from its history and current state to everyday usage. The Armenian dram has a rich history and has been affected by various economic and political factors. The current state of the currency is relatively stable, and it is widely accepted in various sectors. However, tourists should be aware of the potential challenges and have cash on hand.

US First Exchange is the easiest way to purchase and sell foreign currency online. You can order foreign currency online and have your Armenian currency shipped & delivered straight to your doorstep as fast as 24-48 hours, fully insured.

Have peace of mind knowing your transactions are secure and safe – besides being registered with the US Treasury as a Money Services Business (view a copy of our registration), we also hold multiple state-specific licenses as a money services business and, where required, are bonded as well.

Ready to buy?

Are you ready to buy your currency? Stop waiting and request a Shipping Kit. We will provide everything you need to ship and receive funds for currencies you own.

Ready to
Place an Order?

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Ready to sell? No more waiting. We provide everything you need to ship and receive funds for currencies you own.