Malta's famed Azure Window rock formation collapsed after a heavy storm hit the area yesterday.
Here's what Tieqa tad-Dwejra, as it is called in Malta, looked like off the northwest coast of the island of Gozo up until yesterday morning
And here's what Malta's #3 attraction on TripAdvisor looks like now. Not only did the limestone arch fall into the sea, but also the surrounding stacks, rendering the landmark virtually unrecognizable.
"There was a big raging sea beneath the window," Roger Chessell, a resident of Gozo, told the Times of Malta. He was there around 9:40 a.m. took take pictures of the storm when the rock formation fell.
"Suddenly, the arch collapsed into the sea with a loud whoomph, throwing up a huge spray. By the time the spray had faded, the stack had gone too," Chessell said.
Even if you've never been to Malta before, Game Of Thrones fans might recognize it as the backdrop to Daenerys's wedding in the first season here.
According to the Times of Malta, geologists concluded in 2013 that while natural erosion was "inevitable" it was likely that the arch would be there for decades to come.
While efforts - including a $1,600 fine to trespassers - were made to limit the effect of tourists on the arch, authorities struggled to enforce the ban and people continued to venture out onto the arch on a regular basis.
The loss of this icon of Malta's natural beauty was felt around the country. Many people, including Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, took to social media to share their sadness over the collapse of the landmark.
The site from where one could admire it-Tieqa tad-Dwejra. Heartbreaking. pic.twitter.com/S4XV6MyKRu- Joseph Muscat (@JosephMuscat_JM) March 8, 2017
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