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The Barmakids were an Iranian influential family from Balkh in Bactria where they were originally hereditary Buddhist leaders (in the Nawbahar monastery), and subsequently came to great political power under the Abbasid caliphs of Baghdad. Khalid, the son of Barmak became the prime minister (wazir) of Al Saffah, the first Caliph of the Abbasid dynasty. His son Yahya aided Harun Al-Rashid in capturing the throne and rose to power as the most powerful man in the Caliphate. The Barmakids were remarkable for their majesty, splendor and hospitality. They are mentioned in some stories of the Arabian Nights.

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