Malta’s Famous Azure Window Rock Arch Collapses, Photographers Mourn

One of the best known photography locations in the world has disappeared. Malta’s famed Azure Window limestone arch on the island of Gozo collapsed into the sea yesterday, leaving a conspicuously, tragically empty space in its wake.

The arch, which has been under threat of collapse for years due to natural erosion and disrespectful tourists alike, gave way under the strain of the gale force winds that were buffeting the island yesterday. Suddenly, a local man told the Times of Malta, the arch collapsed into the sea.

It’s not just the thin arch between the mainland and the massive stone column in the sea that went either—the whole arch, column and all, is just… gone.

Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat posted this aerial photograph taken by Malta’s Armed Forces. A different view of the empty space left by the Azure Window collapse:

Photographers who have visited the site over the years have been posting their images to social media as a tribute to the lost landmark, and those of us who have never been are mourning the lost opportunity. Here are just a few of the messages posted to Twitter in tribute to the beautiful photographic location:

Despite the temptation to blame the tourists seen walking along the formation in some of the photos above, Malta’s Environment Minister Jose Herrera says the collapse could not have been prevented. Humans might have hastened the inevitable, but the arch’s collapse was inevitable all the same.

Take a moment to admire some photos of this natural wonder today; and if you have one of your own, share it with us in the comments.

(via BBC)

Image credits: Malta: Gozo, Azure Window by Berit Watkin

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