Kyrgyzstan was formerly a country of the Soviet Union, but it is now Central Asia’s second poorest country, next only to Tajikistan. The country suffered greatly due to their dependency in the fallen Union.
The republic’s currency is the Kyrgyzstani som which is subdivided into 100 tyiyn. It replaced the Soviet ruble in 1993, at the rate of 200 rubles per 1 som. The coins exist in 1, 3, 5, 10, and 50 tyiyn denominations. The banknotes are in 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 100 som denominations. Unlike the widespread silver based currencies, the word som implies pure gold.
Rules on currency are not that strict but due to current political struggles, tourism is very affected and the currency is very risky to hold for worldwide exchange. There is currently a US travel advisory for Kyrgyzstan. There are industrial and agricultural effects to the turmoil, too. Thankfully, it was able to gain some support from the countries due to manpower flowing to China, India, and other industrialized countries for better economic opportunity.
Credit cards are rarely used in Kyrgyzstan. Like most Central Asian nations, cash is the preferred medium in purchase and selling. Mostly major currencies are acceptably exchanged in the banks, but some urban exchangers only accept specific currencies. Bills should also be in good condition upon exchange.
The Kyrgyz bills were well designed and contain several notable people in the arts. One is the Great Kyrgyz Ballerina Bubusara Beyshenalieva in the 5 KGS bill. She made her first debut in the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. She was named prima ballerina of the Kyrgyz ballet and later on become a ballet professor.
For a country part of the Soviet, they were also patrons of the arts, architecture, and music. Trekking and camping in the country’s mountainous regions is very popular thus, the country’s natural beauty reflected on the bills, such as the Khan Tengri mountains, translated into Turkic as “Rulers of the Sky”. Water sport exists but only at Lake Issyk-Kul. It’s also on the bill noted for its beautiful scenery, and the fact that it doesn’t freeze in winter due to its hot temperature.