The bear garden, which belonged to Hohnstein Castle, was created on the orders of Elector Christian II. From 1609, it served the Dresden court as an animal enclosure for keeping bears that were used for hunting.
The bears occasionally escaped from the enclosure and fled into the surrounding forests. The bear garden has not been used since 1756. The ruins of the enclosure are characterised by their impressive, metre-high walls, which frame a large archway made of hewn sandstone and can still be seen today.
The now famous painter Caspar David Friedrich (1774 - 1840) was impressed by the ruins and captured the complex in a pencil sketch in 1800. This drawing is entitled "Ruine im Schinderloch" and refers to the Schindergraben, which is located on the edge of the town and where the Schinder, the knacker, carried out his work.
It is rather unlikely that Caspar David Friedrich came across a bear during his hikes on this section of the Malerweg, as bears had no longer been part of the natural animal population in Saxony since 1660.