In life, all good things must come to an end. And the iconic rock formation in Malta (an island between Sicily and the north African coast) called the Azure Window is no exception. The beautiful stone arch that looked out onto picturesque blue waters has collapsed due to corrosion. RIP.
The Azure Window, which is made out of limestone, has been recently subjected to strong winds in addition to the usual barrage of the elements it faces. Between gale-force winds and the strong effects of sea water on stone, the rock formation couldn’t withstand the damage and collapsed.
“There was a big raging sea beneath the window,” local resident Roger Chessell told the Times of Malta in an interview. “Suddenly, the arch collapsed into the sea with a loud whoomph, throwing up a huge spray. By the time the spray had faded, the stack had gone too.”
The Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, announced the news of the collapse on Twitter and described it as “heartbreaking.”
“Reports commissioned over the years indicated that this landmark would be hard hit by unavoidable corrosion,” he Tweeted. “That sad day has arrived.”
According to a government report from 2013 published in the Times of Malta, it was concluded that “while the erosion was inevitable, the structure was in no immediate danger of collapsing.”
Unfortunately, human actions have likely contributed to the natural breakdown of the Azure Window. According to a BBC report, tourists to Malta have been spotted using the rocky arch as a springboard to dive into the sea—damaging the rock in the process. The government of Malta had instituted fines to stop people from walking across the arch; trespassers would face a €1,500 ($1,580) fine if caught, but the ban was not strictly enforced according to local media.
The Azure Window was created after two sea caves collapsed, leaving the beautiful arch in their wake. It was one of Malta’s most famous landmarks and often featured in movies and on TV—including the episode of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” where Khal Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen are married and the 1981 film “Clash of the Titans.”
At least we’ll always have the photographs…