The city was founded in 1777. It was first a fortress to defend the Southern borders of Russia. The city's name is of Greek descent and translated as "the city of a cross". Currently, Stavropol is the capital of the Stavropol Krai (one of Russia's territorial districts). Its current population is around 350,000 people, it is a strategic city both geographically and economically.
You can also fly from Saint Petersburg or Moscow to Mineralnye Vody and take a bus/minivan to Stavropol from there.
Or to Krasnodar with Low-cost airlines, like Avianova  and SkyExpress . The return tickets start at around 1,500-2,000 rubles. Krasnodar is about 300 km from Stavropol, and it takes on average 5 hours to drive from there by bus or a minivan.
WARNING! Trains from/to Moscow have 2 routes. The first route is through the Russian territory only, but the second one covers the Russian and Ukrainian territories (i.e., Russia-Ukraine-Russia). If you fail to have a Ukrainian visa (citizens of many countries don't need it), you have to take the first route trains.