Articles in this blog may be ESE news, academics pieces written by our team or events in Malta of general interest.
Farewell to ‘The Azure Window’
The Azure Window
Wednesday 8th March marked the tragic day that Gozo’s Iconic Azure Window collapsed into the sea. The people of Malta and Gozo are left heartbroken by the lost of their most famous natural landmark. Of course it had long been predicted that this day would come, with the natural corrosion over the years evident when comparing past pictures of the window, but according to Peter Gatt, a geologist, it had been expected to last at least another 10 to 15 years. Wednesday’s storms and high winds were the eventual undoing of The Azure Window with it dramatically crashing into the sea, stacks and all. Experts had thought that parts of the window would remain and alternative names had been suggested, such as The Azure Pinnacle or The Azure Stack, for when this happened. Unfortunately, this was not to be.
Azure window before 2012
The History of The Azure Window
Known as Tieqa tad-Dwejra by locals, the 28-meter high limestone arch was located in Dwejra Bay, in the far West of the island of Gozo. The rock arch was created by sea and window erosion into the cliff face over a period of about 500 years, creating a ‘window’ like shape, framing the breathtaking views of the sea and surrounding landscape.
Over the last 30 years the window has been increasing in size at a somewhat accelerated rate with the gradual erosion caused largely by huge waves eroding the top and sides of the arch. 2012 saw a sizable chunk of the formation fall into the sea further undermining the stability of the window. In 2013 a geographical survey suggested that although the erosion was unavoidable, the arch was still ‘relatively stable and will continue to remain so for a number of years’.
However late last year, due to a huge crack that had appeared along the top of the arch, the government put an emergency order in place to stop people from walking across the top, with fines of up to €1500 if caught doing so. These measures were not enforced, and indeed people could be seen still walking across the top of the window just days before it fell.
The Azure Window and Game of Thrones
The Azure Window appeared in many Hollywood blockbuster movies, such as ‘The Clash of the Titans’ back in 1981 and ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ in 2002. It also featured in television shows such as ‘The Odyssey’ in 1997 and more recently in the HBO ‘Game of Thrones’ Dothraki wedding scenes. Now immortalized on screen and in the many hundreds of thousands of images, pictures and selfies, The Azure Window may be gone but will never be forgotten.
Gozo’s next Azure Window!
So what next for Gozo and Malta?
While nothing can replicate the breathtaking beauty of The Azure Window, do not despair. Gozo has another charming ‘Window’ to offer its visitors ‘ The Wied il-Mielah Window. Located in Wied il-Mielah in the far corners of Gharb it is far less accessible to visitors than The Azure Window was, but this perhaps will be it’s saving grace. It is less likely to suffer the human erosion of the Azure arch, which undoubtedly contributed to its final collapse on Wednesday.
As long as the locals and the government work hard to protect this arch from erosion and human abuse, The Wied il-Mielah Window could emerge as the new natural landmark for the Maltese islands, and become just as popular as our beloved Azure Window.
Focus on Fluency
tragic (adj.): – causing or characterized by extreme distress or sorrow.
collapsed (verb): – (of a structure) suddenly fall down or give way.
iconic (adj.): – relating to or the nature of an icon (someone or something representative or a symbol of something worthy of note)
corrosion (noun): – the process of corroding or being corroded (worn away)
undoing (noun): – the cause of a person’s (or something’s) ruin or downfall.
erosion (noun): – the process of eroding or being eroded by wind, water, or other natural agents
accelerated (verb): – to increase in rate, amount, or extent.
chunk (noun): –a thick, solid piece of something.
crack (noun): – a line on the surface of something along which it has split without breaking apart
blockbuster (noun): – a thing of great power or size, in particular a film
immortalized (verb): – confer enduring fame upon.
replicate (verb) : – make an exact copy of; reproduce
saving grace : – a redeeming quality or characteristic
beloved (adj.): –dearly loved
Author: Samantha Dixon
About the Author: Samantha is British and has taught English as a foreign language in several different countries including Thailand and Finland. She has been with ESE since March 2016 and has recently joined the Marketing team as a Marketing Executive. Samantha enjoys being creative, painting and writing when time allows. She also enjoys spending time with her 3 year old son, soaking up the Maltese sun.
Articles in this blog may be ESE news, academics pieces written by our team or events in Malta of general interest. Please feel free to write to us with any comments, suggestions or any articles you may have written and would like to share with us and our students.