Azure Window

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Coordinates: 36°03′12″N 14°11′18″E / 36.05333°N 14.18833°E / 36.05333; 14.18833

The Azure Window, April 2012.
The location used by Azure Window for the TV series Game of Thrones.

The Azure Window (Maltese: Tieqa Żerqa) is a Limestone natural arch on the Maltese island of Gozo. It is situated near Dwejra Bay on the Inland Sea. The formation, which was created after two limestone sea caves collapsed, is popular with scuba divers.

Geology[edit]

The Azure Window is made of a limestone known as Lower Corallian. This is the oldest rock found on the Maltese islands. The rock, which is subject to erosion, gives Malta its distinctive coast while the Upper Corallian influences the landscape of the interior. Thickness of the limestone ranges from 23 m (75 ft) near Fort Chambray on Gozo up to 207 m (679 ft) around Marsaxlokk on Malta. The 28 m (92 ft) high arch consists of yellow to pale-grey limestones comprising the remains of the marine organism.

Erosion[edit]

The arch is disintegrating because large pieces of rock have begun to fall from the underside of the arch. The rate suggests that the arch will completely disintegrate within a few years. Its dangerous condition has led to warning notices being placed along the cliffs to stop people walking over the top of the arch. In April 2012 a large piece of rock was dislocated and resulted in the window being made larger and more unstable, as well as a reduction in its nearly perfect oblong shape.[1]

Tourism[edit]

The Azure Window is a popular visitor destination being close to Dwejra, a tourist village that belongs to the town of San Lawrenz. The waters around the arch are suitable for swimming, scuba diving, and boating.

In recent years, the arch has gained notoriety for the illegal cliff-diving. Many videos on YouTube feature people leaping from the middle and side of the arch.[2][3]

Media appearances[edit]

The Azure Window has been featured in films, such as Clash of the Titans (1981) at the 104th minute and The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) at the 13th minute. It can also be seen in the television miniseries The Odyssey (1997), and HBO's TV series Game of Thrones. The filming of Game of Thrones resulted in controversy when a protected ecosystem was damaged by a subcontractor.[4]

The Azure Window in its natural surroundings (360° view)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Arch collapse
  2. ^ Segar, Toby. "Malta Cliff Diving 2011". Cliff Jumping Video. YouTube. Retrieved 10/11/2011. 
  3. ^ Powell, Sacha. "Malta Cliff Diving 2012". Cliff Jumping Video. YouTube. Retrieved 2012-09-14. 
  4. ^ Peregin, Christian (November 17, 2010). "‘Total elimination of ecosystem’ at Dwejra". The Times (Malta). Retrieved August 21, 2011.