Building in middle eastern style is very easy, especially the normal houses. The buildings are often square or rectengular and the rooftops are almost always flat. The buildings are all made with 2 types of sandstone (normal and smooth) and only a few other blocks are needed to add details and decoration.
In addition to the normal houses, middle eastern villages and cities have towers, domes, temples and other structures which could prove a small challenge due to the round shapes. The towers are fairly easy, but the domes on some rooftops and temples can be a pain to build, especially on smaller buildings, as they often just look odd.
I often start a house by creating an outline. The houses often look like 2 or more cubes placed and stacked on top of each other. They’re often not perfectly alligned, so the outlines often look like the shapes in tetris. The walls are made with normal sandstone, the corners are either sandstone or smooth sandstone. I don’t really have a system for what corner I choose, I often just pick whatever is closest in my hotbar.
The walls are 3 blocks high and topped with another row of smooth sandstone. The doors are usually just 1 block wide and 2 blocks high, the windows are either a 1 or 2 block horizontal opening.
The rooftops are flat, but they almost always have a raised edge. To create this I either add a row of sandstone slabs on top of the smooth sandstone row, or I make a roof out of sandstone slabs, in between the row of smooth sandstone. Which one I pick is often determined by what I want on top of the roof. If I use the second method, nothing else can be placed on the roof, as nothing can be placed on the sandstone slabs (except for other sandstone slabs), without making it look bad. If I use the first method, the remaining roof is filled with smooth sandstone. I use smooth sandstone because it also has a smooth bottom side, normal sandstone has a cracked bottom, which looks worse as a ceiling.
The floor in the house is made with any sandstone, as they all have the same top.
Some houses have a second, smaller floor. This floor is often accessed by a staircase attached to the wall on the outside of the house. I use sandstone slabs to create these stairs.
Adding just 1 or 2 torches in a house will make the house look great at night.
None of the houses have doors or windows as none of the available blocks work well enough in the default texture pack.
Small temples are similar to the small houses, but with a dome on top of the roof. These temples can be a little tricky, as a dome is pretty much impossible to create on such a small scale.
Large temples are just big versions of the small temples, although they often have a walkway at the front or all around the temple. These walkways are often covered and supported by arches.
Even larger temples will allow you to add a lot more details, like gold and other rare materials. These temples are built in a similar way as medium sized temples, but, of course, on a larger scale. The best way to build these is by searching for a few pictures of 1 specific temple and trying to recreate it as close as possible. It’s best not to mix different temples to create a new temple, unless you’re an experienced builder, as using photos of multiple temples will usually just over complicate the building process.
Towers and Pillars
Many middle eastern villages, if not all, have an enormous (central) tower and/or a obelisk. The obelisks are impossible to recreate due to the pointy tip. But a simple pillar of decorated sandstone, surrounded with sandstone slabs at the base, makes for a convincing alternative.
The towers in real life are a little harder to mimic in minecraft. They often have a rounded top and other small details which adds to its distinctive look. I usually just build a tall, 3×3 “cylinder” with a slight dome-like top. I also add a ledge made out of wooden slabs somewhere 3/4th along the tower, just to break up the otherwise monotone look of sandstone and smooth sandstone.
I tend to scatter a few palm trees and bushes around the villages and add a few market stands with chests. Some houses are also finished off with a sunshade or awning made out of wool and fence posts.
In larger towns I sometimes add a garden. These gardens will usually have rows of big palm trees (bigger than the other palms in the village), tall grass and some flowers. I sometimes create ponds, bushes and rock formation in specific areas. This depends on the surrounding buildings, as sometimes a plain lush field of grass and palm trees works better than a garden with well designed features.
The streets are made out of sandstone and sand, which are placed pretty much randomly. This makes the streets look more authentic than when you use just sand or sandstone.
I usually create 1 larger main road, which leads to smaller roads, which in turn lead to even smaller alleyways. This makes for great roof top jumping and makes the town look great at night, if you’ve placed torches in the houses of course.