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A picture of the Dirham notes, the currency of UAE
Written by Preetha Manivelan on June 3, 2020 Share on

Dirhams And Its Symbols – Know Some History Before You Spend

UAE is one of the top-visited destinations in the world. You want to know why? From the busy streets of Dubai with tall standing buildings to the most beautiful mosque in Abu Dhabi with peaceful surroundings, Dubai has every element to even make you revisit it. Though UAE has transformed a lot over the years, it did not miss out on its cultural heritage and tradition. One of the many things that reflects UAE’s heritage is the Dirhams and its symbols on the currency of the UAE.

A beautiful picture of the UAE buildings
Photo by Ling Tang on Unsplash

Dirhams and its symbols

Before spending the currency, have you ever taken a second to see what’s on the Dirham coins and notes? Apart from just the value of the coin, it has something more to say about the UAE’s cultural importance. It even says how the country has transformed from a fishing town to what UAE is now. Want to learn about the UAE’s culture? Scroll down to find out what Dirhams and its symbols have to say.

A picture of one of the dirhams and its symbols
Image Credits: Google Images

Name of the currency

To know about the currency, let’s start with its name. Dirhams is the currency of the UAE that is available both in the form of coins and banknotes. The currency is abbreviated as AED, Dh or Dhs. Dirham is represented in Arabic as د.إ. Though many of them have the national symbol of UAE on it, there are many more Dirhams and its symbols conveying different meanings.

About the Dirham coins

The coins are of three denominations which are 1 Dirham coin, 50 fils coin and 25 fils coin.

  • The front side of the coin displays a unique symbol along with the year it is created in both Hijri and Gregorian year. Not just this, you can also find many coins that are exclusively minted to feature the rulers of UAE and to mark the celebration of events.
  • On its backside, you will have the United Arab Emirates written in both Arabic and English along with the value of the coin written in Arabic.

Symbols and its representation

Below are some of the currency symbols and what it conveys.

1. 1 Dirham coin

Symbol: Dallah Coffee Pot

The symbol of 1 Dirham coin is the Dallah Coffee Pot which represents Emirati culture and the hospitality for guests. How do they welcome guests? Dating back to the earlier days, the Emirati followed a tradition of greeting the guests with a steaming pot of Arabic coffee with some dates. Arabic coffee or Qahwa is a perfect blend of Cardamom and Saffron and is still served as a welcome drink among most families.

A picture of 1 Dirham coin representing Dallah Coffee Pot on it
Image Credits: Google Images

2. 50 fils coin

Symbol: Oil Derricks

The little structures that are on the coin represent the oil derricks of the country. Earlier it was the fishing and pearl diving which contributed the major part of the income. Then there came the discovery of oil in the 1950s and contributed majorly on the economy. The first export was from Abu Dhabi in 1962.

3. 25 fils coin

Symbol: A gazelle

You can find animals on most of the Dirham coins and notes. What you find on 25 fils coin is a Gazelle, native animal in UAE’s desserts, especially in Abu Dhabi. These form an integral part of wildlife in the country and existing since the rule of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

About the Dirham notes

The notes are of various denominations which are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000. The front and backside of the notes feature a unique symbol.

Symbols and its representation

Below are some of the currency symbols and what it conveys.

4. 5 Dirham note

Symbol: Blue Soak in Sharjah

Blue Soak is also called the Central Market, known for trading and shopping. About the place, it is of rich culture with 600 shops selling almost everything. Being built with stunning architecture, it stands as one of the historical monuments in UAE and fits the best in its currency. At the back of AED 5 banknote, you will find the Imam Salem Al Mutawa Mosque.

5. 10 Dirham note

Symbol: Omani Dagger

Omani Dagger is a weapon used for hunting by the men. Being a symbol of power, it will forever remain as an iconic symbol of the UAE’s heritage. Though the use of these has gone, it still makes itself a place as collector’s items because of its cultural importance. If you have gone through the streets of UAE, you would found this as a souvenir in beautiful cases.

6. 10 Dirham note

Symbol: Palm Tree

The symbol can be found not only in the 10 Dirham note but all over the UAE. It stands as an important symbol representing hospitality as this was the only shelter people had in the past. Now you may find tall buildings like Burj Khalifa but what stood tall in the past, is these Palm trees.

7. AED 20 Dirham note

Symbol: Dhow boats

The currency has the symbol of a Dhow boat which is yet another important symbol. Dating back to the pre-oil era, people totally relied on dhow boats for water-transport. Being the largest part of income is fish and pearl diving, this dow boats are of much cultural importance.

8. 50 Dirham note

Symbol: Arabian Oryx

Like Gazelle, it is again a creature in the deserts of UAE and the national animal of the country. Not of much cultural importance, it made itself as one of the symbols to mark the presence of wildlife. Due to the efforts of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, once an extinct animal, now has been saved and walks with pride.

9. AED 100 Dirham note

Symbol: Al Fahidi Fort

The Al Fahidi fort is one of the important landmarks to talk about the UAE’s heritage. It has been used as a defence fort and place for rulers to reside. However, the place is now the Dubai museum, displaying artefacts for one to understand history.

10. AED 200 Dirham note

Symbol: The Central Bank of UAE building

Whats deserves to be on the currency more than a place manages the currency of the country? The place is located in the Al Fahidi District, making itself in 200 Dirham note.

A man at the Central bank of UAE, one of the symbols of dirhams
Image Credits: Google Images

11. 500 Dirham note

Symbol: The Falcon

This majestic bird played an important role in the past. Bedouins used this bird to hunt small prey and have been an important survival tactic those days. However, now it has become a pass time for the locals and a cultural aspect for the tourists. In addition, it is the national bird and official emblem of the UAE.

12. AED 1000 Dirham note

Symbol: The Qasr Al-Hosn

Being on the top denomination, is the Qasr Al-Hosn, the ancient stone watchtower in Abu Dhabi. With this being the safeguard, also served as home to the rulers and seat of the government. This has now become a museum preserving relics and artefacts.

A picture of The Qasr Al-Hosn will lights in UAE, one of the symbols of Dirhams
Image Credits: Google Images

What amazing cultural importance that these Dirhams and its symbols have! The above was the run-through on what do each coin and note of Dirham have on it. When it comes to UAE, it is not just about the sky-touching building but also every little thing speaking about the cultural heritage of the country. And the best part is the identity it has retained over the years. Want to visit this beautiful country of rich culture? Head to Pickyourtrail and check some packages to plan a trip to Dubai with 24 hours of support in the mobile application.

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