Malta's Azure Window Collapses Into the Sea in a Storm
Erosion caused parts of the arch to fall into the sea, the arch and free standing pillar collapsed
March 11, 2017
The Azure Window was a 100 foot high limestone natural arch on the island of Gozo in Malta. You've seen it in James Bond movies, but now it's gone.
The Azure Window developed through sea and rain erosion of a cliff face over a period of about 500 years. The arch was one of Malta's main tourist landmarks, and it was a popular backdrop in photographs.
The arch finally collapsed at around 9:40 am on March 8, 2017, after severe storms with gale-force winds. The pillar supporting the arch collapsed, and the entire structure crashed down into the sea, with nothing remaining visible above sea level.
In December 2016, an emergency order was published prohibiting people from going on the arch, with trespassers facing a fine of $500. However, this law was not enforced, and visitors were still walking on top of the arch days before it collapsed in March 2017.
It was included in a Special Area of Conservation, and in 1998, it was included on Malta's tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, along with the rest of Dwejra Bay.
It was located in Dwejra Bay in the limits of San Lawrenz, close to the Inland Sea and the Fungus Rock. It was one of Malta's major tourist attractions. The arch, together with other natural features in the area of Dwejra, is featured in a number of international films and other media representations.
The formation was anchored on the east end by the seaside cliff, arching over open water, to be anchored to a free standing pillar in the sea to the west of the cliff. It was created when two limestone sea caves collapsed.
Following years of natural erosion causing parts of the arch to fall into the sea, the arch and free standing pillar collapsed completely during a storm.
The Azure Window features in a number of films, including Clash of the Titans (1981) and The Count of Monte Cristo (2002). It can also be seen in the television miniseries The Odyssey (1997).
It was used as a filming location for the Dothraki wedding scene in the first season of HBO's TV series Game of Thrones. The filming of Game of Thrones resulted in controversy when a protected ecosystem was damaged by a subcontractor.