An audience of 8,800 people witnessed the colourful and energetic spectacle unfold on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle last night.
This year 1,000 performers from around the world take part and contribute to a programme of more than 80 musical numbers.
The 2013 event has been built around a celebration of Scotland and the natural world through the themes of the Scottish Government’s The Year of Natural Scotland and Our Wonderful World, which was devised by the tattoo.
It makes an explosive start with a volcanic eruption simulated by projections on the castle walls as children, representing lava, stream out from the gates.
After a traditional display of the massed pipes and drums, made up of seven pipe bands from around the world, the seasonal format of this year’s tattoo takes place.
Performers from South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand and Mongolia have compiled rousing routines to represent spring, summer, autumn and winter respectively.
As well as a fearsome display of the Haka, the New Zealand Army Band have choreographed the biggest comedy moment with their rendition and imitation dance of the YouTube hit Gangnam Style by South Korean singer Psy.
The performance by the Republic of Korea Ministry of National Defence Band and Dancers also marks the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War.
Brigadier David Allfrey, producer of The Royal Edinburgh Tattoo, explained that for many of the performers it was a “life ambition” to take part.
“We have a story that you can feel working through the whole performance and there are some unique aspects, the Korean band and the Mongolians in particular are quite extraordinary,” he said.
“This year, and what’s really important from my point of view there’s a real sense of optimism.
“Everyone has a tough life and I hope that everyone who comes here enjoys themselves as a moment of escape and goes away feeling just great about everything.”
The tattoo runs until August 24.
• See www.edintattoo.co.uk/tickets for ticket information