Da Nang is the fourth largest city in Vietnam after Ho Chi Minh city and Ha Noi in terms of urbanization and economy and one of the major port cities, in addition to Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Noi and Hai Phong. Situated on the coast of the South China Sea, at the opening end of the Han River, it is the biggest city in Central Vietnam. It is governed as one of the five direct-controlled municipalities of the SRV and is thus under direct administration of the central government.
Da Nang is the commercial and educational center of Central Vietnam, with a well-sheltered, easily accessible port; its location on the path of National Route 1A and the North–South Railway makes it a hub for transportation. It is located within 100 km of several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Imperial City of Hue, the Old Town of Hoi An, and the My Son ruins. The city was previously known as Cửa Hàn during early Đại Việt settlement, and as Tourane (or Turon) during French colonial rule. Before 1997, the city was part of Quang Nam-Da Nang Province.
On 1 January 1997, Da Nang was separated from Quảng Nam Province to become one of four independent (centrally controlled) municipalities in Vietnam. Da Nang is listed as a first class city, and has a higher urbanization ratio than any of Vietnam's other provinces or centrally governed cities.