A year after its collapse, the iconic Gozitan landmark is now a diving attraction.
For as long as anyone can remember, the Azure Window at Dwejra in Gozo was a symbol of the Maltese Islands. So famous was this natural landmark, that when it finally succumbed to the wrath of nature and collapsed in a storm on 8th March 2017, it made headlines around the world.
The outpouring of emotion from locals and foreigners was akin to the loss of a loved one, with the Maltese prime Minister declaring the event “heartbreaking”. And such a reaction was understandable, for the Azure Window was indeed more than just a treasured feature of the landscape. The window had starred in countless happy photos and made proud appearances in numerous films, videos and TV productions, including Game of Thrones. No visit to Gozo was complete without a stop to admire this impressive beauty!
We all knew the window’s days were numbered. The signs were there, the cracks were getting more precarious, and just weeks before the collapse, walking over the arch had been forbidden for safety reasons.
Local resident Roger Chessel, who was at the site when the window collapsed at 9:40am, described the fatal moment: “There was a big raging sea beneath the window, suddenly the arch collapsed into the sea with a loud whoomph, throwing up huge spray. By the time the spray had faded, the stack had gone too.”
However, within days of the catastrophic storm, divers quickly claimed it as a new favourite diving location to add to the already famous Blue Hole nearby.
Raniero Borg (@RanierosAdventures) was among the first group of divers to explore the area where the window once stood. His video reveals huge boulders of limestone rock, cracked and sharp-edged, strewn across the sea bed.
"We were three divers and we had to use underwater scooters, as we went out from the inland sea. It was shocking to see the amount of white boulders that fell. It was also impressive to see that the top part of the window had fallen in one piece," he recalls.
A year later, marine life has now taken over, making it even more fascinating to discover. Ranging in depth from eight metres (visible from the surface) to 57m, the area can be explored for a long time over a number of dives, and is suitable for all kind of divers with different certificates. It is advisable to use registered diving clubs to visit the site. Oh, and if you're on the islands this weekend, head over to Dwejra for the activities taking place on Sunday, to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Azure Window's collapse.
While you're there... Rated among the top ten dive sites in Europe, the Blue Hole next to the remains of the Azure Window is a cave without a roof, reaching a maximum depth of 60m. However, with marine life at its best around 10 to 30 metres, any diver can enjoy a wonderful experience. Depending on your diving qualifications, you can also explore a large underwater cave right underneath the hole.