Clutching their cellphones, a curious crowd gathered around the tomb of İsmail Fakirullah, a 18th-century Sufi mystic who serves as "guiding light" for the faithful long after his death. This is the courtesy of one of his followers, İbrahim Hakkı, another revered mystic, who devised a light refraction device far ahead of its time to illuminate the tomb of his "teacher."
"What use is the sun if it does not shine on the head of my teacher?" İbrahim Hakkı famously lamented before he started crafting a light refraction mechanism at the tomb 255 years ago. Using an astrolabe and a walking stick, working for days for astronomic observations, İbrahim Hakkı managed to build the mechanism by correctly positioning the stones on the wall of the tomb. He succeeded in letting the sunlight into the cenotaph in two equinoxes while the rest of the town was more or less covered in darkness. The tomb and its light refraction mechanism are on the UNESCO Heritage List and are seen as the ultimate combination of science, faith and the devotion of a Sufi student to his teacher.
The crowd watched the incident from a giant screen set up outside the small tomb at a ceremony started in the early hours of the morning with the recitation of the Quran and Islamic hymns.
A mishandled restoration in the 1960s in the tomb botched the function of the mechanism. In 2011, a new window was opened on the wall built by İbrahim Hakkı with the same adjustment he made, allowing the sunlight to shine on the cenotaph once again. Though the tomb itself is not unique in its architecture, the light refraction mechanism is one of a kind.