istock-540979748

The most famous landmark on the in Malta, The Azure Window, has completely collapsed into the Mediterranean Sea.

In an incident described by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat as “heartbreaking", the naturally-formed limestone archway, which could be found on the island of Gozo in the archipelago, fell to “unavoidable natural corrosion".

The Environment Minister Jose Herrera has said that no human intervention could have prevented the collapse, while Gozo Minister Anton Refalo has said it is “like losing a part of yourself".

istock-542109168

The news is particularly sad as a study as recently as 2013 had suggested that while the erosion of the arch was inevitable, it was not in imminent danger of collapsing. Whoever did that study will probably be getting a call or two today.

Nevertheless, officials had introduced signs and a fine for anyone who walked on the top of the Window as wear began to show, though even that often didn’t prevent the flocks of tourists from taking to the archway.

Azure Window, famous stone arch of Gozo island

Azure Window, famous stone arch of Gozo island

Thankfully nobody was hurt in the collapse. Local villager Roger Chessell told the Times of Malta: "There was a big raging sea beneath the window. Suddenly, the arch collapsed into the sea."

There is now nothing left where it once stood. Not even the pillars. It’s literally as though it never existed.

The Window will be forever immortalised on film though – as the spot where Khal Drogo married Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons, in season one of Game of Thrones. And the landmark also appeared in several other films including Clash of the Titans and The Count of Monte Cristo.

We were in Malta last year for a weeklong holiday and went along to the Azure Window while there. It was pretty astonishing.

There’s still plenty of reasons to go and visit Malta though. Sun, sand, scuba diving and, crucially, cheap beer being prime among them.