For other uses, see Lira (disambiguation).
100 lire (FAO's celebration.)
Obverse: Young woman with braid facing left and Repubblica Italiana (Republic of Italy) written in Italian. Reverse: Cow nursing calf, face value & date. FAO at bottom and Nutrire il Mondo (English: Feed the world) at top.
Coin minted by Italy in 1970s to celebrate and promote Food and Agriculture Organization.
1 Turkish Lira
1 Italian lira 1863
Victor Emmanuel II Coat of arms of the House of Savoy
10 Turkish lira
Obverse: Head of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk with "TÜRKİYE CUMHURİYETİ" lettering (Republic of Turkey Reverse: Face value and year within wreath, crescent moon and star at the top. Crescent opens right
223,290,000 coins minted (1984 to 1989).

Lira (plural lire) is the name of several currency units. It is the current currency of Turkey and also the local name of the currencies of Lebanon and Syria. It is the former currency of Italy, Malta, San Marino and the Vatican City, all of which were replaced in 2002 with the euro, and of Israel, which replaced it with the old shekel in 1980. The term originates from the value of a Troy pound (Latin libra) of high purity silver. The libra was the basis of the monetary system of the Roman Empire. When Europe resumed a monetary system, during the Carolingian Empire, the Roman system was adopted, the so-called £sd (librae, solidi, denarii).

Particularly this system was kept during the Middle Ages and Modern Age in England, France, and Italy. In each of these countries the libra was translated into local language: pound in England, livre in France, lira in Italy. The Venetian lira was one of the currencies in use in Italy and due to the economic power of the Venetian Republic a popular currency in the Eastern Mediterranean trade.

During the 19th century, Egypt and the Ottoman Empire adopted the lira as their national currency, equivalent to 100 piasters or kuruş. When the Ottoman Empire collapsed in years 1918-1922, many among the successor states kept the lira as their national currency. In some countries, such as Cyprus, which have belonged to both empires, the Ottoman Empire and the British Empire, the words lira and pound are used as equivalents.

For Turkish lira, the Turkish lira sign () is used. Otherwise L, sometimes in a double-crossed script form () or less often single-crossed (£), is usually used as the symbol (occasionally a plain capital "L" crossed by a bar is used).[1]

Current uses


The Turkish lira was introduced in 1844 during the Ottoman reign. The Turkish Lira is now the currency of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.


The Lebanese pound is called "lira" in Arabic, which is the national language of Lebanon.


The Syrian pound is called "lira" in Arabic, which is the national language of Syria.


The Jordanian dinar is widely called a "lira".

Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia

The Bulgarian and Romanian languages refer to the English pound as lira (or occasionally paund ) in opposition to Croatian which refers to the Italian currency as lira.

Former currencies


  1. Typewriter and computer keyboards of British origin provide this symbol while basic American keyboards do not thus making abbreviation inconvenient.

Further reading

Coordinates: 2°14′N 32°54′E / 2.233°N 32.900°E / 2.233; 32.900

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