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For other uses, see Lira (disambiguation).
1 Turkish Lira
M. Kemal Ataturk
1 Italian lira 1863
Victor Emmanuel II Coat of arms of the House of Savoy

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 (Turkish lira symbol 8x10px.png) 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[edit]


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


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


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


A widely used name of Jordanian dinar is lira.

Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia[edit]

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[edit]


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

Further reading[edit]

  • Carlo M. Cipolla, Le avventure della lira, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1975.
  • Stefano Poddi, "La lunga storia della lira", stralcio, Fondazioni, n. 2 marzo-aprile, 2008. Roma.
  • Stefano Poddi, "La lunga storia della lira", articolo completo, Difesa e Lavoro, settembre 2008.

External links[edit]

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