Dubai: Did you know you could go on a tour of the UAE through what’s in your wallet?
Dh100, Dh50, Dh10 – you have probably used UAE’s currency notes hundreds of times, without taking note (pun intended) of the many monuments inscribed on the paper money.
From Sharjah’s Central Souq to Abu Dhabi’s first permanent structure, Qasr Al Hosn, the monuments quietly stand testament to UAE’s history.
The UAE Dirham went into circulation for the first time on May 19, 1973, two years after the Trucial States became known as the United Arab Emirates. Just as it stands today, the first bank notes in the country had Arabic lettering on the front and English on the back, and exhibited landmarks from different emirates.
But did you know, there used to be a Dh1 note? It displayed a clock tower and police fort in Sharjah!
In 1980, the UAE Central Bank came into existence, replacing the Currency Board. These first-issue notes were gradually withdrawn from circulation and replaced by the notes we are all familiar with today. They have since remained largely unchanged.
But why use monuments? Around the world, countries have used some of their oldest or most recognisable buildings on their currency notes, to remind citizens of their heritage and history.
Elaborate engravings of landmarks and human portraits on bank notes have also helped to complicate their reproduction by would-be counterfeiters.
Test your memory
Are you aware of the landmarks that appear on UAE’s currency notes? Take our quiz and be enlightened!