Nature has taken away what it once created. The beautiful Azure Window in Gozo, Malta is gone! The 28m tall limestone arch located in Dwejra Bay was one of Malta’s main tourist attractions. On the 8th of March, just as the ITB (Internationale Tourismus Börse Berlin) – the world’s largest tourism trade show was just about to start and the Maltese tourism authorities were about to promote their little island with pictures of the Azure Window on posters and brochure covers, the inevitable has happened further down the south: The complete arch collapsed into the sea! The stormy morning took the icon, the pride and an old friend of over 400.000 Maltese people away… Yet it is still staring at me from the billboards spread all over Berlin. Ironic.
For me too it’s sad. I used to live in Malta for a while. Dwejra Bay was a special place where I would have (romantic) picnics and watch sunsets and of course bring all my friends who came for a visit. I remember my very first time at the Window when we climbed on the top of the arch to watch the sun going to visit New Zealand (that was 11 years ago and not yet dangerous to climb up there). Amazing! My last time at the Azure Window was also a very special one. Two years ago when visiting a good friend in Malta he proposed to spend a night under the stars, right at the bottom of the Window. He is an artist and a photographer and in this particular night he wanted to take pictures of The Milky Way above the Azure Window. Of course I was coming! I’m very happy I did! The mosquitos were biting and the limestone rocks under the sleeping bags were not really comfortable but it was an unforgettable night and now, as our old friend is gone I’m very grateful about this experience! I will keep it in my heart with all the other treasures I witnessed while traveling this beautiful world…
The falling of the Window was predicted but no one could have imagined it will happen in one go. Disappear completely, swept away by the sea even with its base.
You won’t believe it but my friend, the photographer was also at the Azure Window in the evening before the stormy night and in the morning JUST after it collapsed! (I got the sad news ‘fresh’, before they even reached the public). He has filmed the spot and I would like to share it with you. Please watch here his little movie: ‘The true before and after transition of the fallen Azure Window’ and read about him witnessing the last fight of the icon against the wind and the sea.
Gilbert Vancell is specialised in Nature Photography. He takes pictures of Landscapes and of the sky. His astro landscape photographies are the most popular ones and also his favourites. He loved the Azure Window. He spent hours and hours capturing the Maltese icon under the stars, with the meteor showers, with The Milky Way etc. This world-famous natural landmark became his friend and has played the main role in his countless photographs of Gozo.
This particular evening (7th of March) Gilbert went to his favorite spot because he knew the weather forecast and he wanted to photograph the Arch under the rough conditions. Strong winds and clashing waves made it difficult for him to shoot. He saw his friend enduring the forces of nature and he took some videos, without knowing, that he managed to record history!
Innocently capturing the moments Gilbert would not imagine what he will find (or not find in that case!) when he comes back next day…
Read in his blog article about his experience and see the probably last moments being captured of the Azure Window. As Gilbert says ‘these videos say goodbye to the lost icon, battling the wind and waves as night falls’.
I totally agree with the artist saying ‘It’s just a rock you might say, but try to explain this to the people of Gozo and Malta, and to all those who, like me, have developed an emotional connection with it. A limb was severed off the Dwejra landscape (…) and I felt like I’d lost an old friend which I’d got used to visit over and over again.’
…And below you can see my own private gallery of the old good Azure Window…