It's a sad day here at SI Swimsuit, as we've just learned that Malta's famous Azure Window rock arch has collapsed into the sea after heavy storms last night.
The arch served as the backdrop to some of our favorite photos from last year's issue. Shot by photographer Ben Watts, our then-rookie Tanya Mityushina posed in front of the European landmark, bringing even more beauty to one of the region's most well-known hotspots.
In recent years, the limestone arch on Gozo Island had been featured in Game of Thrones, various other films and in the Instagram feeds of thousands of tourists traveling to the Mediterranean Sea. Studies dating back to 2013 predicted that erosion was inevitable, with law enforcement enforcing fines for those who dared to walk across the site. But in the end, it was Mother Nature, not humans, who took down the beloved arch.
So long, Azure Window. We'll cherish our photos of this irreplaceable landmark forever!
See some of our favorite moments from our SI Swimsuit 2016 shoot in Malta: