3D Laser Scanners Capture and Translate the Alhambra Fortress's 10,000 Arabic Inscriptions

The Alhambra in Granada is so vast and covered with carved Arabic writing that nobody has ever had the ability to catalog it all. Finally, using modern technology, it's doable.

According to the Guardian and the Independent, experts are hard at work collecting over 10,000 inscriptions that nobody has translated in over 500 years since Ferdinand and Isabel evicted the Moors from their mighty fortress. Using the high-tech gear, they've managed to translate about half of the job so far, and have compiled over 3,000 in a DVD. The work continues, and an updated DVD, possibly complete, will come out in 2010. Too bad nobody bothered to show the 3D laser scanner itself in action, because I assume it's a pretty cool—if painstaking—process. I've been all over the Alhambra myself—it'd be a pretty amazing place to "work."

What do the inscriptions say? Mostly the Nasrid motto: "There is no victor but Allah." But in accordance with that particularly fruitful time in Arabic culture, there are an awful lot of other things written on the walls, from poetry to aphorisms, such as "Be sparing with words and you will go in peace." Funny since that's one bit of advice the artists didn't heed themselves. [Guardian; Independent - Thanks James!]

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