The sheer age and endurance of the culture of ancient Egypt is staggering. The first pharaoh mounted his throne more than 5,000 years ago - when Europe's hunter-gatherers were just taking up primitive farming - and their dynasties ruled for the next 3,000 years. Egyptian culture reigned supreme: Even when Alexander the Great conquered the land in 332 B.C., the generals who followed him adopted Egyptian ways and gave rise to a new line of pharaohs that ended with Cleopatra. While other civilizations rose and fell, the Egyptians endured: They tilled their land, built their monuments, worshipped their gods, grew and shrank and restored their empire, and left a permanent mark on the world. Here is their story.