LISBON — Not long ago, Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, was a backwater of Europe. Its historical center was dotted with decrepit and semi-abandoned buildings. Some downtown squares were the domain of prostitutes and drug dealers. The city served as a display case for the devastation of Europe’s debt crisis. Then, in 2011, the country embarked upon…

GEBENG, China — When armed bandits prowled this remote, mountainous stretch of the southwestern province of Guizhou in the chaotic years before the founding of modern China, the ethnic Miao villagers hid in the region’s enormous caves. And there they have remained, even after China was united under Communist rule, grinding out an existence of…

A little skepticism is in order when you hear about the work history of a chef running a kitchen for the first time. As frequent diners know from sad experience, it is, in fact, possible to cook in an acclaimed restaurant without picking up any of the qualities that it’s acclaimed for. Even when actual…

SYDNEY, Australia — The comedian John Oliver, who made a name for himself as host of an HBO talk show, will now have his name in a slightly more embarrassing locale: outside a koala chlamydia clinic in Australia. While he is known for clever stunts — Mr. Oliver recently published a children’s book about a…



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New York City, Illuminated for the Holidays

Wintertime has, at long last, arrived in the Big Apple — and with it, elaborate window displays, slow-moving shoppers, those giant red Christmas-tree ornaments on Sixth Avenue, Bryant Park ice-skaters and (of course) fir trees and colorful light bulbs galore. See all of this and more in our slide show.

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House Hunting in … Aberdeen, Scotland

A TOWNHOUSE IN A SCOTTISH CASTLE $626,000 (£475,000) This four-bedroom townhouse is part of a restored castle in the Scottish countryside, about 15 miles from Aberdeen. The property dates to the 16th century, though the castle, known as Fetteresso, has been destroyed and rebuilt many times over the years, served as a hotel after World…

When the American banker and philanthropist Darius Ogden Mills opened the New Mills Hotel in October 1907, on the corner of Manhattan’s Seventh Avenue and 36th Street, he wanted it to be a place where working-class men could find affordable accommodations. And for nearly a half-century, according to a historical document obtained by Lightstone, the…

ROME — For most visitors to Rome, the city gets high marks for its monuments, food, temperate climate and laid-back lifestyle — the dolce vita. But Roman cabbies often get a failing grade. Social media is rife with cautionary tales of ripoffs and swindles, often involving scenic — but unsolicited — drives past Rome’s historic…

“How much does it cost?” I asked Hirota. We were inside his neighborhood shrine, and staring at what looked like a miniature Japanese palace, intricately gilded and lacquered red and black. It was the vessel for the community’s god, a portable shrine known as the mikoshi. “More than my house,” Hirota said. Outside, men from…

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A Detroit Restaurant With Deep Local Roots

There’s a world of hospitality contained in the tiny cups of black tea that greet you — along with a dainty plate of Welsh rarebit-flavored crackers — when you sit down to eat at Lady of the House, a nominally Irish, decidedly welcoming restaurant that opened last September in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood. The lady in…

A shift in the cultural winds is palpable in New Jersey’s state capital. Since the year began, a new governor, Philip D. Murphy, a Democrat, has been sworn in, and a vibrant arts scene has continued to expand downtown. On the banks of the Delaware River, Trenton is a postindustrial city that’s been buffeted by…

Before she embarked on a baking career, Reem Assil grew up in a Palestinian-Syrian household and spent a decade as a community organizer. Both of these things are evident at Reem’s California, the bright, bustling Arab bakery Ms. Assil opened in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood in May. Reem’s is one of a handful of Arab bakeries…