Croatian banknotes – kuna

Croatian kuna coins photo by Matko M. Švarc

While still having our currency kuna, we can proudly show you some of our flora and fauna and very important people in the history of Croatia. Are there any better media than banknotes or coins?

Currency kuna replaced the former Croatian dinar. The name of the currency unit of the kuna comes from the name after kuna animal. Kuna is a Croatian name for Marten.

The national animal of Croatia, Marten, breeds in Croatian forests, and its fur in Croatian regions has, in the past served as a means of commodity exchange, ie, it had the function of money.

Interestingly, Croatia has maintained its currency even though it is part of the European Union.

The first batch of kuna notes was issued in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 and bears the issue date of October 31, 1993.

The kuna was introduced as the official currency of the Republic of Croatia May 30, 1994.

The authors of the conceptual design of the kuna banknotes are Miroslav and Simon Šutej, and Vilko Žiljak. Each banknote has its base color. On the face of the banknote, there is the face of one important figure from Croatian history and culture, while on the 5 kuna banknote are two family members of Croatian royalty. The reverse of all the banknotes shows the panorama or characteristic motif of a Croatian town.

We will go through all the banknotes to get a better understanding of Croatian history and its important motives. So…let’s get started!

5 kuna banknote


Fran Krsto Frankopan and Petar Zrinski play a big role in Croatian history. They fought for the independence of Croatia, charged with treason and sentenced to death by beheading. The night before the execution, Peter wrote a letter to his wife that became one of the most disturbing texts written in the Croatian language.


The reverse of the banknote is dominated by the motif of the fortress of the Old Town in Varaždin. Varaždin’s feudal fortress called the Old Town since ancient times is the most significant historical building in Varaždin. Its oldest part is the central tower. The benches and canopies on its ground floor are the finest examples of Gothic secular plastic in northern Croatia. During the wars with the Turks in the 16th century it was rebuilt into the Renaissance Wasserburg, a fortress – a castle surrounded by high earthen embankments with bastions, surrounded by a double belt of water. During the past, it was the property of many significant noble families.

10 kuna banknote

Croatian banknote -10 kuna, photo by Matko M. Švarc


 Juraj Dobrila was a prominent bishop, printer, educator of young Croatian intelligentsia, benefactor of Istria and a revivalist of Istrian Croats.


Vespasian amphitheater in Pula on 10 kuna banknote,10 kuna (2), photo by Matko M. Švarc


The most famous and significant monument, the building from which every tour of the city begins and ends – the Roman amphitheater in Pula – a building where gladiators fought. It was built in the 1st century, during the reign of Emperor Vespasian, at the same time as the largest and most famous building of its kind – the Colosseum in Rome.

 20 kuna banknote 

20 kuna, photo by Matko M. Švarc


Ban Josip Jelačić was the Ban of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia, part of the Jelačić noble family and one of the most prominent politicians in the 19th century.


Croatian banknote -20 kuna, photo by Matko M


 The upper part is dominated by the Eltz Castle motif. The baroque castle is located on the bank of the Danube in the town of Vukovar. The castle is one of the most significant works of baroque-classicist architecture of continental Croatia.

Below the castle, you can see the dove of Vučedol. It is the most famous ceramic vessel from the archaeological site in Vučedol. Modeled in the shape of a dove, it has become one of the most recognizable symbols of the city of Vukovar. It is currently held at the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb.

 50 kuna banknote



Ivan Gundulić was the most prominent Croatian Baroque poet from the Republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik). He is the author of the historical-romantic epic Osman, a series of dramas in verse, and has established himself as a Christian author.




The upper central part of the banknote is dominated by the motif of the old town of Dubrovnik, surrounded by city walls with fortresses. At the foot of the motif of the city of Dubrovnik, on the left side of the banknote, is the facade of the Rector’s Palace, a fifteenth-century building. It is one of the most beautiful palaces in Dubrovnik today and one of the most important buildings in the old Dubrovnik Republic: the Rector’s Palace.

 100 kuna banknote


In the right field of the banknote is an engraving of a portrait of the Croatian ban and poet Ivan Mažuranic. The right of the portrait is the text “IVAN MAŽURANIĆ 1814-1890”. In the central part of the banknote, in a linear design, an embossed fragment of the Baška tablet from the monastery of Saint  Lucy in Baška on the island of Krk. A multicolored liner pad is printed in the lower center of the note. The lines of the substrate are so intertwined that they form a series of squares symbolizing the elements of the coat of arms of the Republic of Croatia.



The left side of the banknote is dominated by the motif of St. Vitus Cathedral in Rijeka.

St. Vitus Cathedral is the only Baroque rotunda of monumental proportions built on Croatian soil. Pope John Paul II. on June 8, 2003, blessed the cathedral, and the people present in the cathedral.

200 kuna banknote 


200 kuna, photo by Matko M. Švarc

On the 200 kuna banknote, there is a portrait of famous politician Stjepan Radić. We consider him one of the greatest personalities in Croatian history because he played a major role in the fight against Hungarianization.



200 kuna, photo by Matko M. Švarc

The banknote’s reverse is dominated by the motif of the Osijek General Command Building, a 1726 building. The J. J. Strossmayer University Rectorate Building, historically the General Military Command Building, was later building of the former headquarters for the Slavonian Military District in Osijek, and today houses the Rectorate of the Josip Juraj Strossmayer University in Osijek. 

500 kuna banknote

500 kuna, photo by Matko M. Švarc


Marko Marulić is a Croatian writer and Christian humanist, father of Croatian literature. He has left a rich and diverse oeuvre, distinguished by exceptional literary styling, knowledge and skill, and the ability to adapt to a diverse readership.

Diocletian Palace on 500 kuna banknote, photo by Matko M. Švarc



The urban core of today’s Split, Diocletian’s Palace, is the ancient palace of Emperor Diocletian in Split. Around 300 AD, the Roman emperor Diocletian erected it and stayed there after withdrawing from the throne until his death.

1000 kuna banknote 

Ante Starčević on 1000 kuna banknote, photo by Matko M. Švarc



A face you can see on a 1000 kuna banknote is a Croatian politician, publicist, and writer. Ante Starčević.

The unique name that Ante Starčević takes in Croatian national and national history tells a lot about his role, given that we attach him to the famous title – Father of our Homeland. He deserved this title for his consistent advocacy for Croatian state independence and the defense of historical state law. 


In the left field, you can find the motif of the monument to the first Croatian King Tomislav. In the central part of the drawing along the upper edge, the text “TOMISLAV FIRST CROATIAN KING, 925” is printed. To the right of the monument’s motif, in the upper part, is printed the motif of the facade of the Cathedral in Zagreb. To the right of the Cathedral’s towers, the inscription “ZAGREB, 1217 CATHEDRAL, INSTALLED 1217” is printed along the top edge of the banknote drawing.

1000 kuna, photo by Matko M. Švarc

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