Thừa Thiên-Huế is a province in the North Central Coast of Vietnam, approximately in the center of the country. It borders Quang Tri Provice to the north and Da Nang City to the south, Laos to the west and the South China Sea to the east. The province has 128 km of coastline, 22,000 ha of lagoons and over 200,000 ha of forest. There is an extensive complex of imperial tombs and temples in Huế.
The region’s history dates back some 2800 years according to archaeological findings from the Sa Huynh Culture as well as from relics in the region.
Dai Viet becomes an independent nation around 938 BC of which territorial conflict lasts for about four centuries between the Dai Viet and the Champa. The two provinces then changed their names to Thuan and Hoa. In 1307 Doan Nhu Hai was appointed by the King Tran Anh Tong to administer the area. The people from the north (Thanh Hoa) migrated south and integrated with the people of the Kingdom of Champa. During this time, had the settlement of Hoa Chau Province began, which included the area of present day Thua Thien.
Then between the period of the settlement of Thuan Hoa (1306) to the founding of Phu Xuan (1687), there were conflicts and uncertainties for the local people, which including the fall of the Tran Dynasty to the renaissance of the Ho Dynasty. Thuan Hoa and Phu Xuan started to become the location of the Dai Viet Kingdom once Nguyen Hoang was appointed head of Thuan Hoa (1511–1558). Lord Nguyen Hoang (1558–1613) established bases at Ai Tu, Tra Bat and Dinh Cat, while his Lords moved palaces to Kim Long (1636), where they would eventually base their operations in Phu Xuan (1687). The Nguyen Lords ruled the area until it taken over the Trinh clan in 1775.
The farmers movement led by the Tay Son brothers gained momentum in 1771. The Tay Son insurgent army won the battle in Phu Xuan to take over the Nyugen capital in 1786, where they continued north and overthrew the Trinh Dynasty.
In Phu Xuan, Nguyen Hue appointed himself king, and with internal differences with the Tay Son Movement and the death of Nguyen Hue (1792), Nguyen Anh took advantage of the situation and took over Gia Dinh with the support of foreign forces. Nguyen Hue then attached the Tay Son Movement and took over Phu Xuan and the throne, thereby choosing the dynasty title of Gia Long (1802). Phu Xuan was again chosen as the capital of Vietnam until the August Revolution of 1945.
Prior to 1975, the province was known simply as Thừa Thiên.
The province is known as an area of heavy fighting during the Vietnam War, as it was the second-most northerly province of the Republic of Vietnam, close to the North Vietnamese border (DMZ at the 17th parallel. More U.S. soldiers died in this province than in any other province in Vietnam (2,893). It can be compared to Baghdad Province or Anbar Province in the Iraq War.. The Massacre of Hue also occurred here, where an estimated 2800 to 6000 innocent civilians and ARVN POWs were slaughtered by the Viet Cong. The Massacre of Hue is the lesser known massacre in central Vietnam, despite having the largest number of deaths, than other massacres in South Vietnam like the My Lai Massacre.
Thua Thien-Hue province also saw a large influx of North Vietnamese settlers soon after the Vietnam War ended, as with the rest of the former South.
This province and neighbouring Quảng Nam Province suffered greatly from flooding in November 1999.
The historic village of Phuoc Tich is located in the province.
Thua Thien-Hue Province borders the Quảng Trị Province to the north, the city of Da Nang to the east, the Quảng Nam Province to the south, and the Savannakhet, Salavan and Kekong Provinces of Laos to the west.
The Perfume River (called Sông Hương or Hương Giang in Vietnamese) passes through the province. The province also accommodates Tam Giang – Cau Hai Lagoon, the largest lagoon in South-East Asia, which has 68 km in length with 22,000ha of water surface.
The province has a complex topography. It is made up four different zones: a mountainous area, hills, plains and lagoons separated from the sea by sandbanks. It has 128 km of beaches.
The mountains, covering more than half the total surface of the province, are along the west and southwest border of the province, their height varying from 500 to 1480 metres. The hills are lower, between 20 to 200 metres, with some points at 400 metres, and occupy a third of the area of the province, between the mountains and the plains. The plains account for about a tenth of the surface area, with a height of only up to 20 metres above sea level. Between the hills are the lagoons which occupy the remaining 5 per cent of the surface area of the province.
Bach Ma National Park is a protected area in central Vietnam, near the city of Hué. It covers 220 km² and comprises three zones: a strictly protected core area, an administrative area and a buffer zone.
The climate is similar to central Vietnam in general: a tropical monsoon climate. In the plains and in the hills, the average annual temperature is 25°C, but in the mountains only 21°C (statistical yearbook 2004). The cool season is from November to March with cold northeasterly winds. The lowest average monthly temperature is in January: 20°C. In the cool season temperatures can fall to 12°C in the plains and the relative humidity is high, between 85 and 95%. Then follows a warmer period from April to September with average monthly temperatures up to 29°C in July, reaching up to 41°C at times. It is very humid in July. The relative humidity is lower, sometimes down to 50%.
The annual precipitation in the province is 3200 mm but there are important variations. Depending on the year the annual average may be 2500 to 3500 mm in the plains and 3000 to 4500 mm in the mountains. In some years the rainfall may be much higher and reach more than 5000 mm in the mountains. The rainy season is from September to December – about 70 percent of the precipitation occurring in those months. Rainfall often occurs in short heavy bursts which can cause flooding and erosion, with serious social, economic and environmental consequences. The floods of November 1999 led to 600 deaths and affected 600,000 homes. (Comité des inondations, 1999).
The retail sales of goods and services (trade, hotel, restaurant, tourism) in the province is 10960.6 billion dong or 0.9% of the country. This is compared with 12.7% for Hanoi and 23.5% for Ho Chi Minh (2009).
The province has over 120 km of coastline, which provides a for a seafood industry that produces over 40,000 tonnes/year consisting of over 500 species of fish.
There are over 100 mines for minerals and non-mineral resources with the majority consisting of limestone, granite and kaolin.
Arts (e.g. wood works, fabrics, furnitures, paper arts, pottery), literature (text books), and spicy cuisines (included dry goods, vegetarian food) are the main exports of this region. Exquisite custom-made áo dài (Vietnamese long dress), and nón lá (conical hat) are souvenir items for foreign visitors and overseas Vietnamese.
The ability to make toys, design lanterns, form special papers, and figurines making are native skills of people who lived here.
Fruits such as rambutan, jackfruit, lychee, durian, dao, dragon fruit, star fruit, mangosteen, coconut, kumquat, golden apple, among other exotic species are grown in this area due to sufficient amount of rain received each year.
Rice, tea, and coffee are grown, and sold.
Tourism is a flourishing business in this area. Many historical buildings are located in Hue, largely a legacy from its time as a capital of the Nguyen dynasty (1802–1945). Inside the city are the Royal Citadel, Flag Tower, Royal Palace, and Royal Tombs. Hue’s Forbidden Purple City was once reserved for the royal family; it was severely damaged during the Vietnam War. Outside the city is the religious site known as Nam Giao Hill, or Heaven’s Altar.
Hue Brewery Ltd is located on the Huong river in Hue City with a recognizable brand in central Vietnam. The Brewery is jointed owned by the state and private sector and was founded in 1990 with an initial investment of 2.4 million USD with a capacity of 3 million liters/year, which has grown to a capacity of 100 million liters/year in 2007.
Vietnam’s National Road 1A, which runs the entire length of the nation from north to south, passes through Huế.
Huế and Da Nang are the main intermediate stops on the railway line from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.
This province is served by two sea ports: Thuan An Port and Chan May Port.
Phu Bai Airport, the largest domestic airport in terms of passengers per year is situated 15 km south of Huế. This airport ranks fourth among Vietnam’s airports. The government has approved the upgrade of this airport to an international airport with some air links to Asian destinations.