The new lari sign as it may look in handwriting. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s National Bank has unveiled a new symbol for its currency, the lari. The sign is a modified old Georgian letter ‘L’ with two bars, slightly resembling the euro sign.

The winner of the National Bank’s competition is a cross between the Georgian letter ‘L’ or las from Mkhedruli writing, and the euro sign.

The history of the Georgian lari begins a few years after the end of the Soviet Union. In the first few years, the currency in use in Georgia continued to be Russian rubles, but in 1992 there was a period of hyperinflation as the Russian ruble was devaluated. Georgia then introduced the coupon lari on April 5, 1993, replacing the Russian ruble.

But in 1994, another hyperinflation set in, and the the coupon lari was devaluated by 422 times.

In October 1995, the currency was changed into lari and it has remained stable since. Introducing its own national currency it became able to start establishing rules and regulations and put in order its finance policy shortcomings, supporting the country’s economic development.

Giorgi Kadagidze, President of the National Bank on Tuesday said that having a symbol for Lari is very important.

“A day will come when we will discard our own currency,” he said and added that this will happen when Georgia joins the euro zone.

The Georgia  National Bank announced a competition to create the lari symbol in December, 2013. When choosing the symbols special commission paid attention to the concept, design and compatibility to Georgian writing, simplicity and other conditions.

The new symbol is designed by painter Malkhaz Shvelidze. The National Bank explains that picking the winner symbol was based on experience from other countries to have two parallel lines cross a normal letter to make it into a currency sign.

In the lari currency sign, the two parallel lines crosses the Georgian (Lasi) are the organic parts of the letter. The so called “leg” of “Lasi” represented by the horizontal line is the necessary attribute of the sign and adds monumental statics to the upper dynamic arc. The outline of the letter-mark is transformed on purpose in the design in order to simplify its perception and implementation as a Lari sign.

Unveiling the new symbol, Kadagidze said 2015 is the 20 year anniversary of the Georgian lari and the National Bank will introduce important features to mark this date.

The goal of having a new symbol is to support the popularization of the Georgian national currency in Georgia and abroad.

“Use of the lari symbol will make more practical to place lari sign after the Georgian money amount, both during the writing on the paper and printing on the computer. Introduction of lari sign will increase the public trust in the national currency,” the National Bank said in a statement.

But simultaneously, it is the last step toward integration with Europe, Kadagidze said.