The Malta Independent 24 September 2018, Monday

Azure Window at Dwejra collapsed a year ago today

Kevin Schembri Orland Thursday, 8 March 2018, 09:23 Last update: about 8 months ago

A year ago today, the Azure Window came crashing down into the sea, after a strong storm lashed the Maltese islands the night before.

The whole country mourned the loss of what was Malta’s most iconic site, which had been slowly eroding year after year, eaten away by the elements.

Several ministers had called a joint press conference that day, to address the situation. Then Gozo Minister Anton Refalo had suggested transforming the area into a heritage park, an idea echoed by Environment Minister Jose Herrera, who said that the area is a protected Natura2000 site and remains extremely rich in geology, flora and fauna. Herrera had said that the environmental conditions surrounding the Azure Window was the primary reason behind its collapse given that it was constantly exposed to strong winds and waves.

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“What nature created, it took away,” he had said.

Herrera, at the time, had also said that government was launching an international call for expressions for ideas on what can be done for the fallen Azure Window. He had said that one of the options being considered by the government could lead to the recuperation of the rocks that formed part of the Dwejra Window and expose them in an exhibition.

Contacted by The Malta Independent, a spokesperson for the Environment Ministry said that government had issued preliminary market consultation (PMC), to gauge if there were any ideas for the area around Dwejra in order to enhance the experience of the site.

Submissions closed, the spokesperson said, adding that the Environment and Resources Authority is analysing the consultation submissions prior to drawing up a report with their recommendations. He said that the government will then evaluate the report and decide whether they will do anything with some of the ideas put forward, or do nothing at all.

The PMC was issued on 1 September last year, the spokesperson said, and closed mid-January this year, adding that it was issued on the electronic public procurement system and published in the government gazette.

Since the collapse of the window, an exhibition called Tieqa tad-Dwejra – A Tribute to the Azure Window was created, showcasing a photographic series, in addition to pictorial works which took their inspiration from arch fragments which the French artist, Patric Pantin had brought up from the seabed. The collection is being shown at Lazuli Art Gallery, between March 9 and April 1.

In addition, according to an article by Conde Nast Traveler in August 2017, the Azure Window site was reborn into one of the most sought after diving sites in the Mediterranean, living on as a different kind of tourist attraction.

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