Malta’s Azure Window has collapsed. According to Visit Malta’s official Twitter account, the landmark succumbed to the forces of nature and the passage of time.
It is a very sad day for Malta. The iconic Azure Window collapsed this morning, succumbing to the forces of nature and the passage of time. pic.twitter.com/ovc8Yj9gWH— VisitMalta (@VisitMalta) March 8, 2017
Also known as the Dwejra Window, the Azure Window was a 92 foot tall natural limestone arch in Gozo, set at the end of a cliff through which a traveler could view the sea beyond. Described as one of the most photographed landmarks in Malta on Visit Malta’s website, the name was derived from the dark blue hue of the sea around the window. In front of the Window are two of the most popular diving sites in Gozo: the Blue Hole and The Chimney.
One of the country’s most famous landmarks, in 1998 it included on the country’s tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, along with the surrounding Dwejra Bay.
Parts of the arch’s top portion had been collapsing since the 1980s, causing the arch to widen. In April 2012, part of the left side of the rock formation collapsed, followed by another collapse in March 2013. While a geological report commissioned four months after that predicted the landmark would remain “relatively stable” for a number of years, a further series of rockfalls and fissures occurred over the next few years. Access to the Azure Window, including walking on it, climbing on it, or jumping off of it, was prohibited in late 2016 due to the need to conserve the area. The arch finally collapsed after a series of severe storms with gale force winds that brought down the pillar supporting the structure.