We dedicate November 29 to the most valuable paper in the country – the Moldovan MDL or Leu, which in English means „lion”. It doesn’t have the power as a lion among animals, at least because it is young. We’ve been using it daily since 1993.
Do you know what represents the pictures on the back of the banknote? Well, I recently looked for the connection between these images and past military personalities or events. A virtual guide will be the doctor of historical sciences Sergiu Bacalov, a scientific researcher at the Military History and Culture Center.
The obvious connection, present on all the banknotes, is made by Stephen the Great, about his merits we can talk for hours. However, I would like to mention just a few: the voivode mobilized very well a large number of Moldovan soldiers (40,000 soldiers), he developed the combat capabilities of the soldiers, creating an international image that Moldovans are very warriors. He became famous for the successful tactics of the „scorched earth”, for the way he operated with cavalry and infantry in difficult regions of natural conditions (mountains, forests), for the well-built defense system along the borders.
Another military element, seen on the back of all nine banknotes, is the stylized image of Trajan’s Column. It helps us to remember the victory of the Romans in the wars with the Dacians, an event celebrated for 135 consecutive days and which contributed to the organization of new military campaigns. A considerable part of the Dacian treasury (160 tons of gold and 300 tons of silver) was culturally directed, one of the most sonorous works being Trajan’s Column. The column is located in Rome, it has 38 meters long and reflects scenes from the two wars of the Romans with the Dacians (years 101-102 and 105-106).
Among the national paper money are two cities. The 20 lei banknote is capitalized by the Soroca Fortress. The wooden and then the stone fortress was a pillar of hope during the reign of Stephen the Great and later when it stopped several Cossack invasions. For example, in 1587, the foreman Parvu from Soroca drove the Cossacks to Pereiaslavl on the Dnieper, defeating them after a hard battle.
The Soroca fortress also served the Turkish, Polish, and Russian military interests in the wars between the great powers of the time. Moreover, the fortification for some periods became a place where the Moldovans nation was directly attacked. For example, in the years 1685-1699, when the fortress of Soroca was in the hands of the Poles, the soldiers of the garrison plundered all the neighboring Moldavian lands.
The second banknote, worth 100 lei, emphasizes the Tighina Fortress, which also had an unstable fate: sometimes in the natives’ possession, sometimes of the foreigners. For example, during the reigns of Alexandru Cornea, Ioan voda cel Cumplit, and Aron voda this was a Moldovan-Ottoman confrontations place.
The frontier citadel was fenced with stone walls in two rows in the 17th century. Inside and outside of them was built hundreds of houses for different kind of soldiers. The iron gates protected them.
After several wars with the Poles, Turks, and Tatars, in 1812 the fortress lost military importance.