06/30/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Shanghai World Expo 2010 PHOTOS: Expo Opens After Epic Fireworks Show

Shanghai celebrated the opening of what is said to be the largest world expo in history Friday with an epic fireworks display that marked the city's return to the world stage.

As the AP noted, "the Expo marks an emphatic comeback as a major world city after decades of spartan industrialism following the 1949 communist revolution. Like the 2008 Olympics, the event is showcasing China's growing economic and geopolitical sway, both for the world and for its own public." As the New York Times wrote, Shanghai now envision itself "as a financial capital for the region, even the world."

Shanghai reportedly spent at least $44 billion to put on the massive expo, even more than was spent on the similarly spectacular 2008 Beijing Olympics. It is the first expo to be held in a developing country.

Check out some great photos from the Expo. Interested in the pavilions? See our slideshow of the 25 best.

World Expo 2010