Lonely Planet review for Bosingak
Situated in Jongno (Bell St), Seoul’s main street during the Joseon period, this pavilion houses a modern copy of the city bell – the original, forged in 1468, is in the garden of the National Museum of Korea. The bell is rung only at New Year, when crowds gather here to celebrate. In Joseon times, the great bell was struck 28 times every night at 10pm to ask the heavens for a peaceful night and to signal the closure of the gates and the start of the nightly curfew, which was enforced by club-wielding watchmen. It was struck 33 times for the 33 Buddhist heavens at 4am, which signalled the start of the new day when the gates were reopened. It also sounded when fire broke out, as often happened with so many wooden and thatched buildings.