“Months have passed since the Azure Window collapsed into the sea and it is still haunting us. Many said that nothing could have been done to save it – not so fast.
Perhaps in the past few years or so, maybe it was too late and would have been too dangerous to work around it. So let us go back a few more years.
Old pictures show how thick were the column and the arch. Pictures taken over time would show that it has been collapsing little by little over many years, as if it was asking us to do something to save it before its too late. We just sighed about it every time parts of it crumbled out of sight into the sea.
Had we put our heads together we could have found a solution. Even if it would have been only temporary just to delay its extinction for some more years
The fact that the column was crumbling, and the movement was causing the arch to break, seemed that the problem was mainly at the base under the sea which was unstable.
One remedy would have been to stabilise the base with re-enforced concrete and install rocks around it, from the bottom to just above the surface of the sea. This would have protected it by preventing the force of the waves from hitting it directly and prevent further corrosion.
In addition a breakwater could have been built, starting from the just beyond the entrance at the crack opening to the Dwejra inlet, and go around past the window column.
Professional engineers and architects would have had no problem designing it to blend with the environmental surrounding area. It would have created a haven to protect the window, boats and swimmers in rough seas.
This is a wake-up call for all of us, people and government to start taking responsibility to protect our natural wonders, (as checking the Blue Grotto column for any deterioration) and all man-made monuments as our unique Prehistoric Temples and old buildings and our environment as a whole.
Let us protect them before its too late to do anything. Don’t let future generations blame us for letting them deteriorate beyond repair or just destroy them for real-estate to make a quick buck.
We have old villas with gardens that have been neglected – like the villa where Queen Elizabeth, then Princess, stayed during her time here with Prince Phillip – in the only country she has lived outside Great Briton. Good for tourism especially since the British are number one in tourism.
Why not restore them to their original beauty and maybe renting them to caterers provided they keep their character and not destroy them, to use them for weddings or similar activities and for us to go with family and friends to have a meal in their gardens surrounded by trees and greenery, and fresh air.
Stop tearing them down to build concrete jungles like in Sliema and elsewhere. Yes modernise but with style, Maltese style, and stone covering etc, (Hilton inside and out!?)
Now with Valletta chosen to be the World Heritage for 2018 why not the Government sponsor owners to repaint the eyesore of the neglected concrete buildings facades. Why not getting together architects who can make a blueprint of coordinating colours to each area, instead of a mishmash of colours.
This will make them pleasant to look at, for the resident who benefit with a better neighbourhood, for us who shop and visit those streets and for the upkeep of our country as a whole.
As for the tourism, clean beautiful streets and Maltese style architecture and picturesque country would give them something good to talk about when they leave. After all isn’t that what they come to see?!
Caring for our country is everyone’s responsibility.”
Victor Pantalleresco – victor tal-belt: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographs by Victor Pantalleresco