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I Left My Heart in Al Amarah

War doesn’t stop you falling in love with a place.

It was a peaceful afternoon in Al Amarah thanks to the lack of incoming mortars, rockets and rifle shots. High up on the rooftop of the Pink Palace—once the home, before the 2003 invasion of Iraq and its commandeering by the British Army, of the governor of the surrounding Maysan region—I scanned the surrounding buildings through my SA80 rifle’s telescopic sight. The 4x-magnified image came to rest on an Iraqi woman hanging laundry on the roof of a building about a hundred meters away. She spotted me and began waving an arm in my direction. Rather than being perturbed by...


Putin’s Influence on Russia’s Media

The leader's third term saw the demise of strong journalism in a country already lacking press freedom

Sophisticated Muscovites have excellent literature, theater and ballet at their fingertips. But quality journalism, and even...



The media arm of Pussy Riot that takes pot shots at Putin

Mediazona is the brainchild of Pussy Riot, the Moscow-based punk rock protest group that likes to...


Lalibela: Under Repair

Locals decry renovation delays in Ethiopia's "new Jerusalem"

If there is one city in Ethiopia that any visitor will endeavor to see—with budget backpackers...


Russia’s Big Ballet: A Drama in Three Acts

Crime and intrigue in the Bolshoi was as dark as any performance

PROLOGUE Ballet has long been one of Russia’s national treasures, and the Bolshoi, Russian for “big,”...

Did You Know?


Antipodean Antioxidant

The Tasmanian pepperberry is harvested wild from the island of Tasmania in Australia, with the leaf and berry used in everything from cocktails to sauces and vinaigrettes. According to World Spice Merchants, pepperberries “truly shine as a finishing touch on everything from steak to sliced tomatoes and fresh watermelon,” but it’s not just used to flavor food. For generations, indigenous Australians have used it as a medicine—it has four times the amount of antioxidants as blueberries—to treat everything from stomach aches to venereal disease.

Encounters that take you there.

Before there were guidebooks, 18th- and 19th-century authors wrote “stranger’s guides” to cities and countries, pamphlets and books that combined helpful tips with particular and offbeat advice and context: the best boarding houses alongside bits of history, preferred brothels as well as ways to avoid pickpockets. These guides were far removed from a modern, sanitized Fodor’s—rather they were personal, eccentric and intimate portrayals of place.

Stranger’s Guide is a modern version of that idea—a nonprofit publication designed to reveal the intricacies of places across the globe, through both local and foreign eyes.