Want to visit Greece without leaving Tampa Bay? Head on over to Tarpon Springs. The city was settled in the mid-1800s by Greek immigrants as the railroad brought visitors from the north. Greek sponge divers later developed Tarpon Springs' famed sponge diving industry in the very early 1900s. Greek divers, who originally settled in the Keys, found they could harvest the more desirable wool sponges in the deeper and colder waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Known today as the sponge capital of the world, Tarpon Springs is one of the largest Greek communities outside of Greece. The atmosphere here is still heavily Greek with family-owned restaurants and boutiques along the sponge docks along the Anclote River. The downtown area is listed in the National Register of Historic Places along with St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, a replica of St. Sophia Cathedral in Constantinople.
Another unique things about Tarpon Springs is the annual Epiphany Cross Dive. It is a 107-year old tradition of the members of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral. The dive, held every January 6, is considered to be one of the largest celebrations of its kind in the western hemisphere. It is a commemoration of the baptism of Jesus by St. John the Baptist in the Jordan River. It is a huge event for the Greek community in Tarpon Springs which features processions, Greek music, dancing, food and the Cross Dive. The Archbishop blesses the boats and the waters of Spring Bayou. A white dove, a symbol of the Holy Spirit, is released before a white wooden cross is tossed by the Archbishop into the murky waters of the bayou. Greek-American youth (aged 16 to 18) dive into the waters to search for it. The one who successfully finds it is said to be lucky and blessed for the whole year and will join a procession to the church.
There are a variety of housing options including single family and condos. There are many waterfront properties along the river and bayous. Don't see what you're looking for? Give us a call and we can customize a search for you.