The city of Mostar is a historical and architectural pearl located in the Herzegovina region. Its charming streets and memorable attractions are along the way that leads to its famous landmark – The Old Bridge, a symbol of reconciliation and coexistence of diverse cultural, ethnic and religious communities. On the other hand, colourful scenery such as the historical bazaar of Kujundžiluk will leave you speechless.
Nevertheless, this magnificent city is still deeply divided between the Croatian community which lives in the western part of the Neretva river, and the (mostly Muslim) Bosnian community which lives in the eastern part. These two sides were never really on the same page, their ideologies heavily diverged during the World War Two, and later in the 90’s their differences and conflicts escalated. Throughout all those decades, this polarisation has been represented by two football clubs FK Zrinjski and FK Velež. The former was founded by Croatian youths in 1905, thus becoming the first football club in Bosnia and Herzegovina and is to this day associated to the Croatian nationalist movement – while the latter is the only club from former Yugoslavia which preserved its left wing orientation.
Velež and Zrinjski took on each other for the first time in 1922 which makes the Mostar Derby the oldest major derby game in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Over the course of many heated clashes, the animosity and tensions have been rising, which is perfectly illustrated by an event from the 90’s during the war of Yugoslavia – the historic ground of Velež called ‘Bijeli Brijeg’ found itself deep inside of the Croatian territory and the club was forced to look for a new home. Nowadays they play at ‘Rođeni’ stadium in the eastern part of Mostar. And guess who plays at ‘Bijeli Brijeg’ stadium? Zrinjski. And that is just a tiny part of this football derby and its history, heavily influenced by politics and ethnicity like no other football rivalry in the world…
Want to explore more and experience the Mostar Derby? Book your trip with Homefans now, get carried away and let our local host show you the magic of Mostar and all the bits of one of the most complex football rivalries in the world.