Banknotes exhibition sheds light on country’s history

The most comprehensive exhibition ever to be held on Greek banknotes is currently under way at the Historical Archive of the National Bank of Greece, inaugurated in late January by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. Titled «Greek Banknotes, 1822-2002,» the exhibition traces the evolution of Greek banknotes through time with reference to the historical events that took place at each stage of the process, as well as shedding light on the methods of their manufacture and their aesthetic value. The displays, which are significant historical testimonials as well as works of art, have come mainly from the Charitable Foundation of Social and Cultural Work and partly from the National Bank collection, which contains rare specimens of its own original banknotes. Bringing the exhibition together took about three years. During that time, a data bank was created – a first in Greece, both for its scope and its advanced search methods; people can find information pertaining to all the banknotes that have ever circulated in Greece. From bonds issued during the 1821 War of Independence to the currency used in Capodistrias’s era, and from the earliest banknotes to the switch from the drachma to the euro, the exhibition is a panorama of Greece’s political, economic and social history. Many of the banknotes that we admire today for their artistic value took their themes from the motifs used abroad. This relationship is highlighted in the exhibition by showing the Greek banknotes next to the foreign ones that inspired their design. But there is no shortage of original designs. At the Diomides Mansion, 146 Tritis Septemvriou Street. The exhibition runs through the end of year.

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