Đà Nẵng is one of the major port cities in Vietnam (in addition to Ho Chi Minh city and Hai Phong) and the biggest city on the South Central Coast of Vietnam; the city is situated on the coast of the South China Sea, at the mouth of the Hàn River. Đà Nẵng 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 Huế, the Old Town of Hội An, and theMỹ Sơn ruins. The city was previously known as Cửa Hàn during early Đại Việtsettlement, and as Tourane (or Turon) during French colonial rule. It is the fourth biggest economic center in Vietnam (after Ho Chi Minh city, Ha Noi, and Hai Phong).
Before 1997, the city was part of Quảng Nam-Đà Nẵng Province. On 1 January 1997, Đà Nẵng was separated from Quảng Nam province to become one of five independent (centrally controlled) municipalities in Vietnam. Đà Nẵng is listed as a first class city,and has a higher urbanization ratio than any of Vietnam's other provinces or centrally governed cities. In the 2009 census, Đà Nẵng was the 4th largest city in Vietnam