Pictured: The Nur-Astana Mosque in Kazakhstan

Over-50s specialist Saga has launched a new tour of Central Asia, exploring the culture, history and scenery of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan – known as the ‘Stans.

The 10-night holiday visits a village offering a taste of traditional life, the cities of Almaty, Karakol, Bishkek and Shymkent, and Charyn Canyon.

In Almaty, clients can visit the Green Bazaar market, a memorial park for soldiers who died defending Moscow from the Nazi invasion and the Ascension Cathedral – built entirely from wood without nails.

In Shymkent, highlights include the city’s archaeological museum and market, followed by visits to the ancient site of the Oasis of Otrar –a medieval town with an irrigation system and canals –and the mausoleums of the 12th century Sufi master Khoja Ahmed Yasawi and his teacher, Arystan Baba.

Other excursions include the Ala-Archa National Park and Issyk-Kul Lake, the second largest mountain lake in the world after Lake Titicaca in South America.

It costs from £2,299 including flights from Heathrow, with departures in August and September 2020 and May 2021.