The building of the canal began in 506 BC during the Wu State in Spring and Autumn Period. It was extended during the Qin Dynasty, and later by Emperor Yangdi of the Sui Dynasty during six years of furious construction from 605-610 AD. Today there's program offering cruise of the Grand Canal. The area was nicely designed and had a nice atmosphere. The boat was fairly small and only held about fifteen people. The boat cruised down the canal at a leisurely pace and passed many ancient houses built along the banks. It was really nice. Each house had stairs leading down to the water for washing their laundry and vegetables and the local people relaxing outside their house waved and smiled at travelers who are cruising along this Grand Canal in Suzhou.