The first stop of Xi's Uzbekistan visit was the famous historical and cultural city of Bukhara, which he called a "shinning pearl on the ancient Silk Road."

On Tuesday, Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, accompanied by Uzbek Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev, took a detailed tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in central-southern Uzbekistan with great interest.

After asking detailed questions on the history and traditions of Bukhara, the Chinese president said the tour gave him profound understanding of the deep-rooted historical connections between China and Uzbekistan.

Qodir Djuraev, a member of the Uzbek Parliament, told Xinhua after Xi's speech on Wednesday that he is impressed by Xi's extensive knowledge of, and respect for, the Uzbek culture.

In the speech, Xi said that Uzbekistan has a rich and proud cultural heritage. "This land has produced a galaxy of eminent scholars of world renown," he said, adding the precious jewels of Uzbek culture continue to exude wisdom and truth now as ever.

Xi's visit to Bukhara showed his "true respect" for the country's history and culture, Karimov said, calling Xi and the Chinese people "true friends" of the Uzbek people.

In recent years, China and Uzbekistan have maintained close cultural and people-to-people exchanges. Uzbekistan opened the first Confucius Institute in Central Asia in Tashkent in 2005, and a second such institute was established in 2014 in Samarkand, a historical city Xi visited during his first state visit to Uzbekistan in 2013.

Accompanied by Karimov's wife Tatyana Karimova, Peng paid a visit to the Confucius Institute in Tashkent on Wednesday, encouraging the institute to cultivate more talents for promoting bilateral friendship.

In Tashkent, Xi will also attend a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on June 23-24.

Uzbekistan is the third and final stop of Xi's three-nation tour, which has taken him to Serbia and Poland.