If you have never visited Tarpon Springs, you will be pleasantly surprised by the diversity and rich history of our area. Tarpon Springs is world renowned for it's Greek culture and the Sponge Docks, a historic working waterfront where natural sponges have been harvested since the late 1800's.The early sponge industry created a need for eating places at the Docks for the boat crews. Soon, as news of this unusual industry spread, people began to come to the Docks to see the sponges. Shops opened so that the tourists could purchase sponges and other souvenirs. The tourism industry blossomed in Tarpon Springs. Some of the original shops remain at the Docks today, owned by the same families that started them. Through the years more shops have opened, putting the number at well over 100 today. There are approximately fifteen restaurants in the Sponge Docks area, several of them internationally known. The Historic Downtown Art & Antique District is home to many antique & eclectic shops, art galleries and restaurants.