Thua Thien Hue: Building a Cultural City

4:12:15 PM | 24/5/2010

In accordance with Conclusion 48 of the Politburo, Thua Thien Hue will become a city of central government in coming years. It will make Hue a regional centre and a centre of the country in culture, tourism, science and technology, special health care and multi-sector education and training.
Hue of the past
Hue has a 700 year history as a political, economic and cultural centre of the Southern part of ancient Vietnam, where Nguyen Hue was enthroned as Emperor before leading the military march to the North. Later on it was the royal capital of Nguyen dynasty. In 1899 it was a town and in 1929 became a city. Due to its political and cultural prestige, it is regarded as a symbol when referring together Hanoi-Hue-Saigon the three key cities of Vietnam. Consequently, in 1960, Hue, Hanoi and Saigon established the brotherhood and Nhan Dan daily described it as a symbol of national unity struggling for the reunification of Vietnam.
After national reunification, Hue was a city of a province. When Thua Thien Hue province was re-established in 1989, Hue was a grade 3 city. However, everyone felt that it was too small a stature for Hue. And as a result, in 1992 Hue was the first city of a province to become a grade 2 city (belonging to the central government) and then grade 1 with special privileges. Nevertheless, it takes greater efforts to develop the city, expanding to Tu Ha, Binh Dien, Phu Bai and Thuan An.
Portrait of Hue city
The orientation set by the Party and Central government for Vietnamese cities by 2025 and vision to 2050 helps fill out a portrait of Hue in the future: a principal area with a cluster of satellite urban areas linked by a modern network of infrastructure and transport. The ancient royal capital will be the nucleus of the city. The city will include forests, coastline, lakes, mountains and plain areas, a miniature of the country. Therefore, the most important criterion for building Hue is developing a city of culture.
The city can be a city of seaport, tourism, university, mountain areas and border gates. The ancient royal capital must become an ideal resort for Vietnam and the world. It demands great courage and efforts from the planners.
In recent years, the city has been trying to move all manufacturing factories to the suburbs, resettle fishing villages, dredge the canal, and build a city of festivals, culture, education and public health. However with the trend of urbanization, it is difficult to preserve the original banks of the famous Huong river, royal tombs,  home gardens in Kim Long, Huong Long, Thuy Bieu, Vy Da, ancient town Gia Hoi – Bao Vinh and ancient French-style streets. The city finds the solution in expanding urban area to Phu Bai, Binh Dien, Tu Ha and Thuan An.
After relocating factories, the city should do the same with offices and schools to make the ancient royal capital a resort of regional and international standards, a cultural centre for the population. A university city should be built to include all existing colleges of the city.
Meanwhile Chan May – Lang Co can be a new urban area, a centre for international trade, shipping and high-class resorts, a dynamic and promising area complementing the ancient city very well.
Starting with culture
To build Hue into a centre of culture, tourism, science, technology, health and education is to make it prosperous, with a high quality of living and sustainable development. The growth of the city will also help develop neighbouring areas.HuhhH          
The city will have six industrial centres with total area of 2,000 hectares, including strong industries as beverage, hydro power, building materials, airport and seaport. Industrial development will strongly impact urbanization, with new population. However, as a city of culture, Hue should develop tourism and service as the spearhead sector of the economy.
As the city focuses on tourism development, it requires support from other sectors such as agriculture, industry and handicraft. Although the city has successfully hosted several festivals, there remain shortfalls in professionalism, for instance, tourists could stay only two days in the city.
Lang Co is one of the most beautiful bays of the world, with many historical relics, churches and pagodas, an attraction for research tourists.
Thua Thien Hue has 46 tourist projects worth over US$3.1 billion, especially eco-tourism, No doubt, they will make Hue a perfect destination for tourism.
In time, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hue will serve together as a tripod for the economic and cultural development of Vietnam.
Hai Le