Write: Melih Uslu Photos: Fethi İzan
Tillo Land Of Luminaries
Tillo Land Of Luminaries
WITH A HISTORY DATING BACK TO THE ASSYRIAN PERIOD, THE TOWN OF TILLO (THE LUMINARIES) IN SİİRT WITNESSED A REVIVAL OF THE MEMORY AND DEATH OF A GREAT MAN AT 6:02 A.M. ON SEPTEMBER 23, THE DAY OF THE FALL EQUINOX.
The protagonists of the story are İbrahim Hakkı of Erzurum, one of the leading lights of his day in both theology and the positive sciences, and his teacher, the great scholar İsmail Fakirullah. An expert in medicine, mathematics, physics, chemistry, geography, geology and, especially, astronomy, İbrahim Hakkı was motivated by the thought, “If the sun born in the new year does not first illuminate my teacher, then I do not want that sun.”
LET THERE BE LIGHT
İbrahim Hakkı set about his work by having a mausoleum built where first his teacher and later he himself would be interred, and, next to it, an 11-meter-tall tower with a prism of glass inside it. Completing the project was a wall built of stones stacked one on top of the other without mortar on a hill some 3 kilometers to the east, over which the sun rises every morning.
THE SPRING AND FALL EQUINOXES
İbrahim Hakkı’s genius manifests itself every year on the spring and fall equinoxes, March 21 and September 23. While Tillo still lies in shadow, the sun meets the obstacle of the wall on top of the hill. Able to pass only through a tiny interstice in the stones, the first rays of morning strike the prism in the tower next to the mausoleum. Refracted by the prism, the light briefly illuminates the head of the sarcophagus in which İsmail Fakirullah’s remains are interred. The system functions on those two days of the year in a concrete expression of its builder’s great knowledge of astronomy and physics.
As a result of some misguided meddling, the system was disrupted in the 1960’s. But the unfortunate glitch was remedied through the efforts of the Office of the Governor of Siirt province and the Turkish Scientific and Technological Research Council (TÜBİTAK) in 2011. Thanks to the scientifically executed repairs, last September 23 it worked again and İsmail Fakirullah’s tomb was once again illuminated by the first light of day. This noble expression of a science student’s love and respect for his teacher will manifest itself again on March 21, 2012. As the distinguished scholar İsmail Fakirullah once said: “If he understands, then my far is my near. If he doesn’t, then my near is my far.” But İbrahim Hakkı understood his teacher and became his interpreter to the world.
İbrahim Hakkı of Erzurum is known to have authored 15 books, most notably a work entitled Marifetname (The Book of Skills). Some of the topics covered include gravity, continental drift, a calculation of latitude and longitude based on Tillo as center, the planets and the properties of the human body.