Join us this week as we look at a delightful banknote from Bulgaria. Bulgaria is located in Southeast Europe. It is a melting pot of cultures and has a rich history of folklore. Bulgaria is the oldest country in Europe that has kept the name since it was established in 681 AD. A fun fact about Bulgaria is that the world’s oldest golden treasure was found there in 1972 among 300 graves. The treasure and other artefacts date back to 4600-4200 BC.

The banknote we are exploring is Bulgaria 20 Leva p100. This is a blue, pink and orange paper note. The banknote has Bulgarian text. On the front of the note is a fragment of fresco, and church founder Duchess Sevastokrat Ortizza Desislava. The back of the note displays Boyana Church in Sofia. Watermark for this note is Rampant lion.

Boyana Church is located in the Boyana neighborhood of Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. The two-story church was built in 3 stages. The east wing of the church was built some time in the late 10th or early 11th century. Later the central wing of the church was added in the 13th century. The church wasn’t considered finished until the west wing was built in the 19th century. The west wing of the church was built thanks to the donations of the community.

In 1954, Boyana church was closed to the public for restoration and repair. It only partially reopened again in 2006. During these restorations, air conditioning was added to keep the church between 62-64° Fahrenheit, and low-heat lighting. In 2008, the church was fully reopened; however, the tours are kept to 10 minutes and only allow 8 visitors at a time. Boyana Church was added to UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979.

The interior of the Boyana Church is made of several frescos. From these frescos are 89 showing scenes and 240 displaying a human image. Among the human images are frescos of patrons to the church including Duchess Sevastokrat Ortizza Desislava, who is seen on the front of this banknote. A fresco is a mural painted on wet plaster. As the plaster dries, the painting dries and becomes an essential part of the wall.

The 20 Leva bank note exhibits a lot of history. The back shows Boyana Church, and the front displays one of the church’s many frescos. This note is currently priced at $2.50, but is subject to change. Head to our website ( to take a closer look at this note, or to see other notes like it.

Country: Bulgaria
Denomination: 20 Leva
Pick #: 100
Year: 1991
Grade: UNC
Coloration: Blue
Depictions: Duchess; Boyana Church
Note Size: 4 3/4″ x 2 3/4″
Continent: Europe
Watermark: Rampant Lion