Thousands of tourists flocked daily to the “Azure Window” on Malta’s Gozo island. Following the news of the collapse, dozens of locals showed up to pay tribute to what was once the “flagship” of Malta’s tourism.

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The “Azure Window,” one of Malta’s most significant tourist attractions, which had notably been featured on the first episode of “Game of Thrones,” collapsed yesterday (Tuesday) due to erosion of the rock formation by the water beneath it. Locals of the the island of Gozo described their astonishment and sadness at the scene when they saw that the popular arch- one of the hallmarks of Malta- was gone.

“A huge wave passed beneath the Azure Window and suddenly the arch completely collapsed,” described one of the local residents who witnessed the collapse. “It wasn’t just the arch that disappeared- but everything around it vanished as well.”

“Flagship” of Malta’s tourism Photo credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

Members of the local government also commented on the event. Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat wrote on his twitter page: “I have just been informed that the beautiful Tieqa tad-Dwejra in #Gozo has collapsed… Heartbreaking.” Malta’s Environmental Minister Jose Herrera explained to reporters at a press conference that no man-made intervention could have prevented the collapse.

The site after the collapse

The site after the collapse Photo credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

Dozens of locals rushed to the site once they heard the news, and expressed hope that the spot would still attract the thousands of tourists that used to visit daily. The Gozo Tourism Association said in a statement that “the flagship of the Gozitan touristic sites has sunk in its same birth place from where for thousands of years, it stood high and proud heralding one of the natural beauties our little island is endowed with” but added that the island still has much more to offer.