This week I was going to post a selection of my favourite photographs from 2016. But at the last minute I changed my mind and decided to publish only two photographs: of the Azure Window on the Maltese Island of Gozo.
The window is a magnificent limestone arch at Dewrja, on Gozo’s coast. The rock sparkles in the sunlight and the sea around the bay is the most incredible azure blue. Liz and I visited the window in October last year. When you first arrive at Dwerja, it’s quite easy to wonder why you’ve gone there. Much of the coast is like a moonscape, arid and dusty, and the bus drops you off at an overcrowded and slightly tacky array of tourist shops.
A short walk from there takes you down to a bay with a quay and a line of small boats. For a few Euro’s you can take a fifteen minute boat tour through caves to the Azure Window. It’s a great antidote to the barren landscape on shore.
If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you’ll recognise the Azure Window as the scene for Dothraki wedding from the first episode.
The window is an awe-inspiring sight and one of the highlights of our holiday in Malta…
…except it isn’t there any more.
The Azure Window has been in a fragile state for many years, due to erosion. The Maltese government has taken steps to protect the arch, including banning people from walking across it. Sadly the window collapsed on Wednesday in a storm.
I’m glad we had the opportunity to visit Dwerja and the window last year. I have to admit it wasn’t on my all time list of places to visit, but it was well worth it. It’s a shame for future generations that they’ll only get to experience the window through photographs.
There are many other landmarks at risk. I suppose the moral of the story is to get out and visit them before it’s too late!