Malta’s Azure Window washes away in storm

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Photo credit: @JoseHerreraMP

One of Malta’s most iconic landmarks has been washed away after being battered by heavy storms.

The famed Azure Window on the picturesque island of Gozo has been a favourite among holidaymakers and locals for generations but, alas, it is no more. Geologists had warned the arched cliff structure had been gradually eroding away and following a series of heavy storms it has succumbed to the elements and fallen into the Mediterranean Sea.

Jose Herrera, Malta’s minister for sustainable development, environment and climate change, stated in February that rangers would be stationed near the Azure Window to prevent people walking over the arch. While it had been closed to visitors for a number of months, this extra precautionary measure came as fears grew that it could collapse.

On the morning of March 8th, the predictions of geologists came true as the natural wonder crashed into the sea. Roger Chessell, a local resident, described the moment as a “loud whoomph” as one of Malta’s most beloved landmark disappeared forever.

Speaking to the Times of Malta, Mr Chessell said: “There was a big raging sea beneath the Azure Window. Suddenly, the arch collapsed into the sea…throwing up a huge spray. By the time the spray had faded, the stack had gone too.”

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Mr Herrera noted his sadness at the loss of the Azure Window, while Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat described it as ‘heartbreaking’. A full investigation is set to be launched into how the incident occurred but Malta’s tourism minister Edward Zammit Lewis stressed that while the country had lost a major attraction; Gozo still has a lot to offer.

The Azure Window had been the focal point of the island’s tourism industry with millions of holidaymakers visiting over the years. It has also provided the backdrop for a number of films as well as being the set for the Dothraki wedding scene in the first episode of HBO TV series Game of Thrones.

Gozo remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in Malta thanks to its paradise-like landscape. It encompasses miles of pristine beaches, rolling hills, quaint villages and some of the best diving sites in the world.

Check out our in-depth guide to Malta here.

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