Many countries claim that their currency is appealing, but Kazakhstan has awards to back it up. In the two decades since the country introduced its own currency, the Kazakhstani tenge has won four first places and one runner-up in contests for the world’s prettiest banknotes.
Kazakhstan declared its independence in December 1991, the last of the former Soviet republics to do so. But it did not create its own currency until two years later. It was still using the ruble in July 1993 when Russia abruptly issued a new national currency and old Soviet banknotes flooded Kazakhstan, driving up prices and creating shortages of products. To regain control of its economy, Kazakhstan issued its own currency in November 1993, at a rate of 500 rubles to the tenge.