On the occasion of Pope Francis’ recent visit to Mongolia, the Italian Embassy in Ulaanbaatar has issued a special commemorative silver banknote.
The Embassy’s initiative, which was organised in collaboration with the Central Bank of Mongolia, commemorates the first Italian diplomatic mission to the Mongol Empire and is dedicated to Friar Giovanni da Pian del Carpine, an Italian Franciscan missionary who was sent in 1245 by Pope Innocent IV as a legate of the Holy See to deliver a letter of peace to the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire. Two years later, on his return to Italy, Giovanni Pian del Carpine wrote the treatise “Historia Mongalorum”, the most detailed document in the western world on the Mongol Empire and the customs of its people.
Imprinted on the silver banknote is the moment when Giovanni da Pian del Carpine stood before Emperor Guyuk Khan and handed him the papal letter. The original illustration, a wall fresco by Italian futurist painter Gerardo Dottori, was made in 1949 in the Council Chamber of the municipality of Magione, the missionary’s hometown.