Lari and tetri

On April 9th, 1991, Georgia gained independence from the Soviet Union. After that, the Russian ruble was used in parallel to western currencies and Kuponi, a kind of emergency money. In 1995 the country introduced its own currency, the Lari (GEL). Lari means ‘property’ or ‘treasure’ in Georgian language and a Lari is divided into 100 Tetri. The bills show important personalities and buildings of the country.

While staying at the capital city you will probably not need cash. You can pay by credit card (especially VISA) everywhere; only for paying taxi drivers some notes are sensible to have. ATMs are available in many places but some only hand out a maximum amount of 200 Lari. Keep in mind that the average monthly income of a Georgian is 600 Lari when judging this. When travelling throughout the country you should take cash with you.

The Lari is not traded in central Europe (and probably not anywhere outside the Caucasus region), therefore you have no chance to arrive with local cash in your pocket. If you want to be prepared just bring some Euros or US dollars with you: you’ll find exchange offices everywhere (including the airport) that will convert your money (if you’re able to show a passport).


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